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Dublin: 11 °C Friday 24 May, 2019
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France edge thrilling friendly against England

The video referee played a central part in the drama.

OUSMANE DEMBELE CAPPED a thrilling performance with the deciding goal as 10-man France beat England 3-2 in a friendly in Paris tonight in which the video assistant referee played a central role.

Captain Harry Kane had earlier scored twice for the visitors at the Stade de France, including from a penalty early in the second half.

That came after the Italian referee gave a spot-kick for a foul on Dele Alli and the video assistant — being trialled here — ruled that Raphael Varane deserved a straight red card.

The decision was a controversial one, coming after FIFA tweaked the rules last year to reduce cases of players being sent off for denying clear goal-scoring opportunities, unless the offence is a deliberate one.

Varane’s team-mates and the French fans did not agree with the decision by the officials, which came after Samuel Umtiti and Djibril Sidibe had scored to cancel out Kane’s early opener.

It was a fine end-of-season match, played out in front of French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Theresa May and preceded by an emotional tribute to the victims of recent terror attacks in England.

The French fans in the crowd of almost 80,000 joined in with the English anthem ‘God Save the Queen’ and a minute’s silence was observed to honour the victims of attacks in Manchester and London over the last month.

© AFP 2017

‘Brian always believed in us. We slowly started to believe in him as the tournament went on’

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