When and where: Saturday's quarterfinal kicks-off from the Donbass Arena in Donetsk at 2.45 p.m. ET. Coverage will be on ESPN2, with a live stream available on ESPN3.

Preview: Spain continues its quest to become the first nation to win three major tournaments back-to-back against the last side to defeat them in a big international competition, France. That was at the 2006 World Cup when Franck Ribery was among the goalscorers in a 3-1 victory in the round of 16.

Despite their recent dominance of the international arena, France represents perhaps as much a psychological as physical hurdle for Spain to overcome. Not only is it a local derby, but Spain has yet to beat France in a competitive fixture.

It will take a dramatic improvement on France's performance so far at these championships if that record is to continue, however. Les Bleus briefly sparkled into life in a classy defeat of Ukraine, but otherwise the genuine talent in the side has thus far failed to perform to its potential.

Laurent Blanc's side's impressive 23-game unbeaten streak was snapped in a disappointing 2-0 defeat to Sweden that meant they finished second to England in Group D.

Spain's own streak is still going strong. It is now 17 games since La Roja lost a competitive fixture; 1-0 to Switzerland in their first match of the 2010 World Cup.

That record was close to ending, though, as Vicente del Bosque's side suffered their own tribulations in their final group match. Croatia put on a resolute display that left the game entering its closing stages with Spain knowing that a goal would eliminate them. To much Spanish relief, Jesus Navas got a decisive winner to settle nerves and once again take them into the business end of a tournament.

Much of the conversation concerning Spain thus far at these finals has been Del Bosque's switching between a conventional striker and false nine. Against France, Fernando Torres looks set to start with the feeling that their defense could be exploited with pace in behind.

Blanc's selection dilemma appears to be over whether to once again include Jeremy Menez after he helped inspire France's best showing against Ukraine. The likelihood is that the Paris Saint-Germain wide man will have to settle for a place on the bench as Blanc looks to firm up the midfield. That could mean Yann M'Vila starting alongside Alou Diarra.

Spain (probable)

G: Casillas

D: Arbeloa, Ramos, Pique, Alba

M: Busquets, Alonso

Silva, Xavi, Iniesta

F: Torres

France (probable)

G: Lloris

D: Debuchy, Rami, Koscielny, Clichy

M: M'Vila, Diarra, Cabaye

Nasri, Ribery

F: Benzema

Prediction: The one enforced absentee from the France lineup, Philippe Mexes could well be a blessing in disguise for Blanc. The Milan center-back has looked vulnerable for some time and the presence of Laurent Koscielny should be an upgrade.

But Mexes is far from the only thing wrong with the France defense. Mathieu Debuchy and Gael Clichy are both arguably better going forward than defending and will face a mammoth task on Saturday.

As Croatia showed for close to 90 minutes, it takes a concerted team effort to keep Spain at bay and that is something that it is difficult to see France providing.

Rumors of dissension in the camp only reinforce the suggestion that this is a side that has yet to fully blend either on or off the pitch. Going forward that has been exposed so far in Ukraine, with Blanc struggling to find a formula that can get the best out of his undoubted attacking talent. The sight of Karim Benzema time and time again coming deep to get the ball, leaving the penalty box bare has exemplified this problem.

France may well get there in the future, but it is hard to envisage it clicking against Spain.

They may have earned unfair criticism for not being the side they once were, but Spain still possess astounding quality and should enjoy plenty of joy up against a brittle French backline.

Spain 3-1 France