Spain beat France in friendly with help of video assistant referee
France 0 - 2 Spain

Spain beat France in friendly with help of video assistant referee

28/03/2017

Spain beat France 2-0 in a friendly at the Stade de France, where video replays played a significant role.

German referee Felix Zwayer made use of the technology available to both chalk off a goal for France and then overrule an incorrect offside call against Gerard Deulofeu for Spain's second goal.

Following their World Cup qualifiers, both sides made the expected changes for the friendly, but it was Spain who delivered a cutting edge in the final third.

However, victory came only after France striker Antoine Griezmann saw his close-range header at the start of the second half correctly ruled out for a marginal offside in the build-up following consultation with the Video Assistant Referee (VAR), the system being trialled by FIFA.

There was no need for a second pair of eyes when Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny upended Deulofeu to give away a penalty in the 68th minute, which Manchester City's David Silva converted for his 30th international goal - moving him into fourth in his country's all-time scoring list.

The VAR was, though, required again with 12 minutes left after Deulofeu, on loan at AC Milan from Everton, swept the ball in at the far post. The assistant referee put his flag up for offside but, after a delay while technology was consulted, the goal was awarded and the Spanish were able to celebrate.

Before kick-off, respects were paid to former France and Real Madrid midfielder Raymond Kopa, who died earlier this month.

France created an early opening when Monaco forward Kylian Mbappe forced Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea into a save at the near post.

The hosts threatened again in the 11th minute when Griezmann's free-kick into the area was nodded goalwards by Koscielny, but Barcelona defender Gerard Pique was alert to hook the ball off the line.

At the other end, Andres Iniesta weaved into the France box and curled a low shot just wide of the far post.

Spain thought they had taken the lead in the 23rd minute when Pique knocked the ball in from a corner, but the referee ruled there had been a foul by Sergio Ramos on France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.

Tottenham's number one was called into action again to deny Iniesta as the Barcelona midfielder was played clear down the right.

As half-time approached De Gea had to be alert to knock the ball away from under the bar following a cross by Kevin Gameiro.

There was a moment of controversy at the start of the second half, when Griezmann's close-range header was ruled out after consolation with the VAR.

Replays correctly showed Layvin Kurzawa had been just offside when the Paris St Germain defender nodded a right-wing cross from Christophe Jallet back into the six-yard box where Griezmann pounced - a decision which left the home fans far from happy.

After the match had opened up, Spain were awarded a penalty midway through the second half when when substitute Deulofeu was brought down by Koscielny.

Silva, who had only been on the pitch for quarter-of-an-hour, made no mistake from the spot as he sent Lloris the wrong way.

Spain doubled their lead with 13 minutes left when Deulofeu arrived at the far post to slotted in Jordi Alba's low cross.

The assistant's flag went up for what he thought had been offside, but after consulting the video replay, the goal stood.

There was little more drama during the final minutes as Spain closed out what was in the end a comfortable victory following some five minutes of added time, mostly down to the video consultations.

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