Category Archives: International Friendly

France and England thrill in five-goal friendly

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The France and England international both thrilled in an entertaining five-goal friendly match that Les Blues won by 3-2 in Stade de France.

The night was filled emotional scenes before kick-off, with the crowd singing the Oasis hit Don’t Look Back In Anger and France fans joining England supporters in singing the national anthem in memory of those who died in the Manchester and London attacks.

Then, only nine minutes after kick-off, England captain Harry Kane gave his team a dream start when he turned in Ryan Bertrand’s cross.

However, the pace and movement of the France attack quickly overwhelmed manager Gareth Southgate’s experimental three-man defence.

While England goalkeeper Tom Heaton managed to keep out efforts from Olivier Giroud and Ousmane Dembele, Samuel Umtiti and then Djibril Sidibe put the hosts ahead, and the Burnley keeper was subsequently replaced by Stoke City’s Jack Butland.

Still, England managed to find an equalizer three minutes after half-time when Kane scored once again from the penalty spot following a collision between Raphael Varane and Dele Alli which required the intervention of the video assistant referee Marco Guido.

Guido confirmed referee Davide Massa’s original decision to award the spot-kick, resulting in the sending off of Varane.

But France remained uncowed and tormented England’s defence, and with their maintaining of the pressure it was no surprise when their winner came eventually, 12 minutes from time when Ousmane Dembele for a powerful, low finish.

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.

Gareth Southgate: England the better side against Germany

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Gareth Southgate said his players should not be disheartened by their 1-0 friendly defeat against Germany, arguing they had been the better side for the majority of the match.

Retiring German international Lukas Podolski, given a hero’s reception before, during and after the game, scored the decisive goal with a powerful left-footed drive from outside the area after 69 minutes.

Podolski’s contribution would end Southgate’s night in disappointment because, in his own words, he has “never been someone overly pleased in defeat”.

However, he believed that the performance of his team in a new 3-4-3 system was encouraging, saying he could take a lot of confidence into Sunday’s World Cup qualifier against Lithuania at Wembley.

England were certainly not starved of opportunities either, as Adam Lallana struck a post and Dele Alli saw a shot blocked at point-blank range by Germany keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen in the first half.

“It is never nice to lose and I am not someone who is overly pleased in defeat but I have to be really pleased with the way my players have played individually and in terms of the tactical system,” Southgate said.

“The way that worked and their ability to adapt quickly was excellent and, until the goal, I thought we were the better side.”

“I am very pleased with what we learned, the manner of the performance and the only bit we missed was the finish. We should have had the game won but I am very pleased with what we did.”

Germany: Lukas Podolski set for fond farewell in England friendly

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Lukas Podolski will receive a fond farewell when Germany plays England in an upcoming friendly, as the winger grew into one of the country’s greatest players, according to team coach Joachim Low.

Podolski will earn his 130th and final cap and start as captain for the first time in the friendly in Dortmund. Podolski, 31, made his debut for Germany in 2004 and became his country’s third most-capped player and is fourth in the top scorers’ list with 48 goals.

“He is a unique specimen, no one can really replace him,” Low said. “For me it will be a beautiful moment but a sad one because he was one of the greatest players ever to come out of Germany.”

“Lukas and myself have gone a long road together. We have gone over many hurdles, many tournaments, disappointments but also the biggest joy as coach and player with the World Cup victory in 2014. So the stage tomorrow is appropriate. Germany against England is the right atmosphere.”

However, it can be surmised that the friendly could be less revealing of the depths of Germany’s squad as a number of players including Mesut Ozil, Julian Draxler and Mario Gomez will miss the friendly. Die Mannschaft were already without the injured goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, with Low having called up Kevin Trapp as a replacement.

Low said the trio were nursing minor injuries and would need a few days to recover as the world champions taking on Azerbaijan in a World Cup qualifier in Baku.

“Those who will not play tomorrow are Ozil, who has some muscle problems. Julian Draxler has the same injury, an upper thigh muscle,” Low said. “Mario Gomez has an adductor muscle injury and may need a few days.”