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Deulofeu and the video assistant referee (VAR) win in Paris


A happy night in Paris for Spain, who beat France 0-2. Lopetegui can feel satisfied. As a change to Del Bosque's habit, which I never liked, the Spain coach didn't use the next friendly on the schedule to give a run out to all those who didn't get to play in the competitive match. He put out pretty much his best team, with a few alterations up front, and which he then changed during the match, for the better. The changes up front were the most debatable aspects of his selection, starting with Pedro, because on the basis of what we saw it's hard to understand why he's back after his explosion at Euro 2016. It's true that everyone deserves another chance, but he wasted this one. Spain had a great first half, except for their lack of penetration and depth.

Deulofeu, Silva and Thiago give Spain a cutting edge

That said, we went into half-time content. France were unable to cope with Spain's tiki-taca passing, though the home side conjured up a couple of scares. On the few times he was involved Mbappé shone, an electically dangerous player. But the ball and most of the pitch belonged to Spain, who, though, were missing Silva desperately, the switch who creates the danger in the final third, that part of the play when it's vital to turn domination into ingenious, lethal actions. He came on in in the second half, as did Deulofeu and Thiago, and Spain suddenly had what they'd been lacking, a cutting edge. The three were great, above all Deulofeu, who won a penalty with his piece of play and then scored, finishing off a superb move from Spain.

Gerard Deulofeu celebrates scoring their second goal
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Gerard Deulofeu celebrates scoring their second goalGonzalo FuentesREUTERS

Viva the VAR

So Spain won at the same time as they witnessed a fine performance from one of the new generation: Deulofeu opening the door to a future equal to his talent, which he was at risk of wasting. Away from the football itself, it was a good night for the VAR, which I personally am not so keen on, but which in this match worked extremely well, if you'll allow me to say so, because the big decisions went, correctly, in our favour. Without the VAR we'd have been losing 1-0, and with it we went 2-0 up. When Italy won the World Cup, someone put up a sign in the Plaza de Udine, which read: "Per una volta, viva l'Italia". Well exactly: for once, viva the VAR.