France 0-2 Spain: David Silva and Gerard Deulofeu give La Roja spoils
By Richard Morgan
Last Updated: 29/03/17 11:45am
Spain beat France 2-0 at the Stade de France on Tuesday night in a friendly dominated by the intervention of the Video Assistant Referee.
The visitors took the spoils thanks to second-half goals from David Silva, via the penalty spot, and substitute Gerard Deulofeu.
However, Deulofeu's strike had originally been disallowed for offside, only for the Video Assistant Referee - a system being trialled by FIFA - to then intervene to overrule the assistant referee's decision.
Video technology was also used to chalk off an Antoine Griezmann header at the start of the second period for offside against Layvin Kurzawa.
Chelsea striker Diego Costa started the game on the bench after damaging his ankle in a training session at the weekend, although club-mate Pedro did start in Paris, as did fellow Blues star N'Golo Kante for the hosts.
Meanwhile, fellow Premier League-based players Hugo Lloris, Laurent Koscielny and David de Gea also featured in the French capital, although all eyes were on Monaco forward Kylian Mbappe, who was making his first start for his country.
And the exciting 18-year-old did not take long to show why he is currently one of the hottest prospects in Europe by testing De Gea at his near post with a stabbed effort just five minutes into the game.
It was the home side who made the more assured start to proceedings and they would have taken an 11th-minute lead but for an acrobatic goal-line clearance from Gerard Pique to prevent Laurent Koscielny's looping header from finding the net.
Gradually, though, Spain's passing game began to function better, with Andres Iniesta twice going close to breaking the deadlock.
However, the Barcelona midfielder was inches off target with his first effort, before seeing Lloris make a smart stop at his near post to deny him with his second just before the half-hour mark as Spain stepped up the pace.
The home side came out with more attacking intent after the break, and thought they had taken the lead within three minutes of the restart as Griezmann headed home Kurzawa's knock back.
However, after a slight delay, referee Felix Zwayer decided to ask the Video Assistant Referee to check for offside, and the Atletico Madrid forward's effort was correctly ruled out.
The second period was interrupted by a succession of substitutions from both managers and one such introduction played a crucial role in the opening goal as Deulofeu picked up Tiemoue Bakayoko's wayward pass, before being clattered by Koscielny.
The referee immediately pointed to the spot, without needing to go upstairs on this occasion, and Silva kept his cool from the spot to send Lloris the wrong way for his 30th international goal.
And the game was over as a contest 13 minutes from time when Deulofeu side-footed home Jordi Alba's inch-perfect left-wing cross, with the goal eventually given after more consultation with the Video Assistant Referee.