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International football

Spain overpower France, Italy bounce back in Amsterdam

Spain have beaten France a friendly monitored by a video assistant referee. The technology had an impact on the outcome, as it was used to wave off an offside goal for the French, and to allow a fair one for the Spanish.

David Silva scored from the penalty spot and Gerard Delofeu from open play to secure a 2-0 morale boost for Spain in their friendly in Paris on Tuesday evening. 

As well as being a meeting of two of Europe's top teams, the game was notable as another experiment using a video referee during a FIFA match.

This excitement was particularly palpable in Germany as the refereeing team happened to be German; Felix Zwayer was in charge of matters on the pitch, but Tobias Stieler was in radio contact nearby, watching the game on a batch of monitors. 

The technology did alter the outcome. Twice, Stieler - the so-called Video Assistant Referee - was able to override Zwayer on crucial decisions. The video referee waved away Antoine Griezmann's offside goal for France that Zwayer and his on-pitch assistants would have let stand, while also approving Delofeu's goal, which Zwayer had initially disallowed for offside. Assuming no other changes, the game could have ended 1-1 without the technical input.

Read: Dortmund's Dembele leads new generation of French talent

No respite for the Netherlands

Italy showed no mercy against the floundering Netherlands on Tuesday. Days after manager Danny Blind's sacking and a defeat to Bulgaria that put the Dutch dreams of World Cup qualification in jeopardy, the Azurri managed to overturn an early deficit to win 2-1 at the Amsterdam Arena. 

An Italian own goal had opened the scoring, but Eder equalized within minutes. Leonardo Bonucci added another later in the first half - both Italy's goals came from set pieces against the Dutch, now under the stewardship of caretaker coach Fred Grim. 

Fußball | Niederlande vs Italien (picture-alliance/AP Photo)

Bonucci (shirt number 19, in white) was on hand to mop up the loose ball at a set piece, making it 2-1 Italy

Read: 'Our last world class generation was in the 1980s' - Holland need a new coach

To the east, Belgium and Russia played out a 3-3 draw. Belgium had led 3-1 at half time on a Kevin Mirallas penalty and a Christian Benteke brace, but Russia scored in the 74th minute and then in stoppage time to salvage a draw. 

Iceland, Sweden, Guinea, Morocco, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Georgia were among the other winners on the night amid a raft of international friendlies across Europe and Africa. 

International friendly results, March 28

Georgia 5-0 Latvia
Russia 3-3 Belgium
Estonia 3-0 Croatia
Macedonia 3-0 Belarus
Egypt 3-0 Togo
Albania 1-2 Bosnia-Herzegovina
South Africa 0-0 Angola
Morocco 1-0 Tunisia
Luxembourg 0-2 Cape Verde
Cameroon 1-2 Guinea
Portugal 2-3 Sweden
Ireland 0-1 Iceland
Austria 1-1 Finland
Netherlands 1-2 Italy
France 0-2 Spain

msh (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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