César Azpilicueta continued his habit sitting on the Spanish national team’s bench, but at least this time he was accompanied by Diego Costa, who had survived an injury “scare” earlier this week when he was sent for a scan on his ankle. While the scan came back negative, it was good to see Costa getting rested in Tuesday night’s international friendly against France.
The industrious and all-action Pedro did start for Spain after going unused over the weekend while N’Golo Kanté added 90 more minutes to his (hopefully) indefatigable clock with back-to-back starts for France. The French also played several youngsters and debutants, including supposed Chelsea target Tiemoue Bakayoko, whose agent recently reminded that the media that his client’s dream club is PSG.
Second half goals from David Silva and Gerard Deulofeu ensured that Spain remained unbeaten since their Euro 2016 exit at the hands of Antonio Conte’s Italy. Following the 2-0 win, the Chelsea foursome traveled back to proper football together. Awww.
The friendly was perhaps even more notable for the impact of the video assistant referee, who first ruled out Griezmann’s goal because of offside in the build-up...
An example of how video assistant refs could be used going forward...— ITV Football (@itvfootball) March 28, 2017
Griezmann scores but the video ref rules it out for offside: pic.twitter.com/r0IswV6EyI
...then overruled the decision to disallow Deulofeu’s goal since he turned out to be onside.
Video tech at work in football:— ITV Football (@itvfootball) March 28, 2017
Video assistant referee overruled the offside decision and allowed Gerard Deulofeu's goal against France pic.twitter.com/SKiSpl3OuP
Hurray for technology! Time to get this technology into as many competitions as possible. The future is almost here!
Elsewhere on the final day of this ridiculously timed and most unwelcome international break, Bosnia (and Asmir Begovic) won again, beating Albania 2-1, but Belgium (who were without injured duo Thibaut Courtois and Eden Hazard) gave up a late two-goal lead to Russia and managed only a 3-3 draw. Both games were friendlies, and yet Michy Batshuayi did still didn’t manage to feature.
Lastly, over in South America, Brazil became to first team to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia with their 3-0 win over Paraguay. Willian got a few token minutes at the end as Brazil made it 9 wins in a row under new boss Tite.