'I hope Benzema has another bad day' – Monreal

The Gunners full-back is praying the Real Madrid attacker’s current run without scoring for les Bleus continues on Tuesday night, and says la Roja “have to” win the clash in Paris

Spain left-back Nacho Monreal is hoping France striker Karim Benzema continues his barren run in front of goal for his country on Tuesday night.

La Roja must not lose against les Bleus to retain a realistic chance of finishing top of Group I, and thereby avoiding having to go through the play-off process to secure a place in the World Cup 2014 finals.

Benzema has not scored for France since June last year and Arsenal defender Monreal is keeping his fingers crossed that this continues, but insists if his Gunners team-mate Olivier Giroud plays then Spain will be equally prepared.

He told reporters on Sunday: “I hope [Benzema] continues to go another game without scoring and has a bad day against us, because he is a great player, and if you give him the slightest amount of space, he can score.

“Benzema and Giroud are both very important players for France. We know Giroud well, he is very strong and has an eye for goal. But regardless of who plays, we will have to be very focused.”

Monreal could start against Didier Deschamps’ men due to first-choice left-back Jordi Alba picking up a knock in their 1-1 draw with Finland on Friday, and he revealed he has been working tirelessly to prove himself to head coach Vicente del Bosque.

“This is a very important match,” he continued. “You would guess that, due to Jordi’s injury, I will play, but we don’t know who’s going to play yet.

“I have been training hard so I can give my all if I do get the chance, because a lot is at stake in this game.

“We know that we have to go out to beat France by whatever way possible because we are the world champions.

“And after two draws in a row, the obligation to win is even greater.”

A defeat to France on Friday would leave the Euro 2012 winners five points adrift of the Group I table-toppers with three games to go, and the former Malaga full-back admitted that mistakes must be eliminated from their game.

“There is no margin for error,” Monreal added. “If we lose we will be five points behind France. We have to win so that our fate is in our own hands, like it is right now.”

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