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Victory for video in France

China Daily | Updated: 2017-03-30 07:18

PARIS - Spain twice benefited from the use of video technology to defeat France 2-0 on Tuesday, while Sweden rallied from two goals down to beat Portugal 3-2 and spoil Cristiano Ronaldo's homecoming in Madeira.

Antoine Griezmann headed in what appeared to be the opening goal at Stade de France shortly after halftime, but it was ruled offside after consultation with the assistant video referee.

David Silva then converted a penalty after a foul by Laurent Koscielny, and the Spaniards again profited from technology as the referee reversed an offside decision that initially negated Gerard's Deulofeu 78th-minute effort.

"The victory was not a result of the (video) refereeing but due to the excellent work and attitude of my players," said Spain coach Julen Lopetegui.

 Victory for video in France

Cristiano Ronaldo reacts after Portugal's 3-2 friendly loss to Sweden at Funchal, Portugal, on Tuesday. The match was Portugal's first on Ronaldo's home island of Madeira since starring in his country's Euro 2016 triumph last summer. Rafael Marchante / Reuters

"The (video) refereeing gave justice to this match, it resolved those two incidents fairly."

Monaco's teenage prodigy Kylian Mbappe made his first France start and had an early chance blocked by goalkeeper David de Gea.

Gerard Pique hooked a Koscielny header off the line, while Andres Iniesta twice went close in the first half before video replays were used for the first time in France.

Griezmann's celebrations after the break were cut short when Layvin Kurzawa was shown to be offside as he set up the Atletico Madrid striker.

The linesman's flag was then raised as Deulofeu tapped in Jordi Alba's left-wing cross, but replays showed the Everton winger, on loan to AC Milan, was marginally behind Samuel Umtiti and the goal was allowed.

"Playing Spain in a friendly is not a fun game, it never has been. But we need this," said France coach Didier Deschamps.


Real Madrid star Ronaldo paraded the European Championship trophy before kick-off at Maritimo Stadium as Portugal played its first match on his home island of Madeira since 2001.

Ronaldo fired the hosts ahead in the 18th minute against Sweden before Andreas Granqvist's own goal doubled the lead for the host.

But Viktor Claesson pulled one back just before Ronaldo was withdrawn on 58 minutes.

Krasnodar midfielder Claesson then equalized before Joao Cancelo turned into his own net in injury time as Sweden crashed the party in dramatic fashion.

"We played pretty well in the first half but we weren't completely serene defensively," said Portugal coach Fernando Santos.

"After the break we didn't play as well and we ended up losing a match we should never have lost."

Meanwhile, the Netherlands slumped to another defeat, losing 2-1 at home to Italy in the country's first game since the dismissal of head coach Danny Blind.

Assistant Fred Grim replaced Blind in the dugout with the Netherlands' World Cup hopes hanging by a thread after Saturday's 2-0 loss in Bulgaria left it fourth in its qualifying group.

The Dutch grabbed a 10th-minute lead in Amsterdam when Italy defender Alessio Romagnoli diverted past 18-year-old Gianluigi Donnarumma - the AC Milan goalkeeper making his first international start.

But Italy hit back immediately through Eder and Leonardo Bonucci converted the winner after turning in the rebound from Marco Parolo's 32nd-minute header.

In Russia, Crystal Palace striker Christian Benteke bagged a brace for Belgium in a 3-3 draw with Russia in the same Sochi stadium used for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2014 Winter Olympics.

However, Russia marked the occasion of the first soccer match at Fisht Arena with a rousing comeback as the 2018 World Cup host recovered from a 3-1 deficit with goals from Alexei Miranchuk and Alexander Bukharov in the final 15 minutes.

Bristol City defender Hordur Magnusson curled in a first-half freekick as Iceland downed the Republic of Ireland 1-0 in Dublin, while Stoke City's Marko Arnautovic netted for Austria as the host was held to a 1-1 draw with Finland in Innsbruck.

Agence France-Presse

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