VAR & Deulofeu secure Spain success

Video assistant referees and Gerard Deulofeu’s introduction combined to give Spain a 2-0 win against France in Tuesday’s glamour friendly.

Julen Lopetegui rotated his midfield and attack for Spain’s friendly against France, who started with Samuel Umtiti, Kevin Gameiro and Antoine Griezmann but were still missing Karim Benzema.

Kylian Mbappe – a reported target for Real Madrid – had an early chance saved by David de Gea as the goalkeeper was on hand to push away the boy wonder’s flicked finish.

Staying in the Spain box, Laurent Koscielny was totally unmarked when he met Griezmann’s cross, but Gerard Pique managed to hook the ball off the line in the nick of time.

Andrea Iniesta, meanwhile, turned the clock back with a mercurial display to give N’Golo Kante the runaround in the first half.

The Barcelona man approached the France area, before unleashing a curler inches wide of Hugo Lloris’ right-hand post.

Alvaro Morata, replacing Diego Costa as La Roja’s lone striker, volleyed home from Lloris’ poor punch, but the goalkeeper was quickly bundled over by Pique.

A lovely give-and-go between Iniesta and his former Barca teammate, Pedro Rodriguez, then set up a one-on-one for the midfielder, but Lloris turned his shot away.

At the other end, Spain’s high line in defence was caught cold as Gameiro got into their box and dropped a cross above De Gea’s goal, which the Manchester United No 1 just about parried to safety.

Griezmann appeared to head France into the lead from Layvin Kurzawa’s knockdown just a couple of minutes into the restart, but VAR would come to Spain’s rescue and adjudge the goal to be offside.

Question marks were raised over the time it took refeee Felix Zwayer to consult the technology, with the Bleus players having just celebrated, but the outcome was a correct one.

Gerard Deulofeu needed barely a minute to make his mark off the bench as the Milan loanee latched onto Tiemoue Bakayoko’s poor control, before being obstructed in the box. Fellow substitute David Silva proceeded to send Lloris the wrong way.

VAR was called upon a second time, when Deulofeu finished off a superb Spain breakaway for 2-0. The linesman initially ruled the goal out for offside, but the technology intervened and rightly awarded it little over 10 seconds later.

France 0-2 Spain

Silva pen 68, Deulofeu 77

France: Lloris; Jallet, Koscielny, Umtiti, Kurzawa; Tolisso (Lemar 80), Kante, Rabiot (Bakayoko 46); Mbappe (Giroud 65), Gameiro (Dembele 80), Griezmann

Spain: De Gea; Carvajal, Ramos, Pique, Alba (Nacho 86); Koke (Herrera 74), Busquets, Iniesta (Thiago 52); Pedro (Deulofeu 67), Morata (Aspas 84), Isco (Silva 53)

Referee: Zwayer (GER)

Tags France friendly Spain