A usually mundane round of international friendlies was livened up by use of video technology in the meeting of France and Spain, writes Stephen Barry.
The Video Assistant Referee Tobias Stieler was called on at two crucial moments to overrule the linesmen, chalking off a French goal and allowing the Spanish clincher.
First, Antoine Griezmann’s celebration of what he thought was the lead goal for France was turned sour as, 50 seconds later, referee Felix Zwayer ruled out the goal for offside after consultation with the video ref.
🎥An example of how video assistant refs could be used going forward...
Griezmann scores but the video ref rules it out for offside: pic.twitter.com/r0IswV6EyI— ITV Football (@itvfootball) March 28, 2017
The officials had managed to finesse that consultation time down to 40 seconds by the time Gerard Deulofeu made it 2-0 to Spain – a legitimate goal that had initially been flagged offside.
Ok, here we go, this is the amount of time it took the video assistant referee to overrule the offside decision and allow Deulofeu's goal pic.twitter.com/kTLn8LgQdD— ITV Football (@itvfootball) March 28, 2017
Even though the decisions went against his team, French coach Didier Deschamps had no complaints with something he sees as “the evolution of football”.
“If it is verified and it is fair, why not (use VAR)?” he asked TF1. “It changes our football a little.
“It is against us today, but if we have to go through this, it will be the same for everyone.
“Afterwards, without (VAR), it would have been different, but it is the evolution of football. That is how it will be.”
With rare approval from both sides, those behind the scenes at the Stade de France could leave happy with their day’s work.
1er arbitrage vidéo "on line" pour France/Espagne!! #FRAESP— FFF (@FFF) March 27, 2017