Daily Archives: March 29, 2017

Video refereeing technology denies France twice against Spain

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Video technology denied France two advantages as Les Blues lost 2-0 against Spain in a friendly in Paris.

French forward Antoine Griezmann had a headed goal ruled out when referee Felix Zwayer reversed his initial decision after receiving a message in his earpiece from the video assistant referee, who was sat in a truck outside the Stade de France.

Replays showed Layvin Kurzawa was narrowly offside when he headed the ball to Griezmann, with the decision to overturn the goal made in about 30 seconds.

Spain’s second goal, scored by Gerard Deulofeu from a cross by Jordi Alba, was awarded by the video official after an assistant referee wrongly flagged for offside and a minute of conversation between the referee and the video assistant.

David Silva had opened the scoring for Spain with a penalty after Laurent Koscielny fouled Deulofeu.

Video assistant technology was tested before the match kick-off. It was first used in September, in France’s 3-1 friendly win in Italy, and was subsequently used at the FIFA Club World Cup, and the Football Association wants to use it in next season’s FA Cup from the third round onwards.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino would like the system to be used at the World Cup in Russia next year.

Messi-less Argentina suffers defeat to Bolivia

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Argentina suffered a setback in their World Cup qualification hopes after losing 2-0 against Bolivia in the absence of captain Lionel Messi.

Messi was banned hours before the match at the Estadio Hernando Siles in Bolivia. Argentina, already without suspended regulars Javier Mascherano, Lucas Biglia and Gonzalo Higuain in La Paz before Messi’s suspension and they defended poorly throughout the gama.

Bolivia took the lead when Juan Carlos Arce scored a stunning header from Pablo Escobar’s long-range cross. The home side doubled their lead seven minutes after the break as Jorge Flores cut the ball back and picked out Marcelo Martins, who tapped home from the edge of the six-yard box.

Argentina, who have not missed a World Cup finals since 1970, are dropped down to fifth in the CONMEBOL qualification table after their defeat as Chile and Colombia leapfrogged them with wins in their respective qualifiers. The first four qualify directly while the fifth advances into the considerably risky inter-confederation playoffs.

Argentina had won their last qualifying match against Chile last week by 1-0, thanks to Messi’s own penalty in the first half.

However, Messi was slapped with a four-match suspension and fined 10,000 Swiss francs after approaching the official at the end of the win in Buenos Aires.

It also meant that Argentina will be without their captain for three of their final four qualifiers; and if the Argentine performance against Bolivia was any hint to what the international team could do without him, he will be sorely missed.

Liverpool hires private jet for return of Brazilian pair

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Liverpool is doubling down on their efforts to win the Merseyside Derby by hiring a private jet to return Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino from international duty in Brazil.

Fenway Sports Group, who holds ownership of Liverpool FC, has sanctioned the rental of a jet to enable Coutinho and Firmino to return to training with Jurgen Klopp’s squad on Thursday ahead of Liverpool’s derby match against Everton in the Premier League.

It would be considered a worthy investment if Klopp’s side maintain their pursuit of Champions League qualification with victory in against the Toffees.

Liverpool currently sit fourth in the Premier League and victory over their local rivals would strengthen their bid to secure a top four spot, but with Everton six points behind in sixth place the Toffees could threaten to join in the competition for Champions League football next season if they secure their first win at Anfield since 1999.

In the past, the Anfield club has worked together with other teams to share travel costs for their Brazilian players. They hired a private jet to bring Sadio Mane back from the Africa Cup of Nations back in January, making this occasion the second time in months .

This week, the offensive pair of Firmino and Coutinho played in Brazil’s World Cup qualifier win against Paraguay in Sao Paulo — leaving them only two full days to prepare for Everton’s latest Premier League visit to Anfield.

Brazil boast a comfortable seven-point lead over second-placed Uruguay in qualification for the 2018 World Cup with five matches to play.