Saturday, 20 January, 2018

10-Man France Down England In Five-Goal Thriller

Kristopher Love | 27 June, 2017, 08:19

This was the first time that England had played under the Video Assistant Referee, the system of decisions that officials are reviewing in the stands and it led to a red card for France's Raphael Varane, which meant the hosts played the second half depleted. City ended the season without a trophy after being knocked out of the Champions League and FA Cup.

The Three Lions were more like the young Lions in France on Tuesday as they were beaten 3-2 by an equally youthful Les Bleus. "I'm very happy with this win, which was a hard one considering we were down to 10 men". "Not good enough", said Harry Kane, who scored both England's goals.

"It's disappointing, getting it back to 2-2 and [they were] down to 10 men; we didn't step up another gear, they got another wind".

It was the third successive friendly match that England have failed to win under Southgate after a 2-2 draw with Spain in November and a 1-0 loss in Germany in March, but the manager insisted the gap to those sides is no bigger than what he imagined. The Southampton left-back, who played one game at Euro 2016, said: 'We definitely see progress.

"We should have kept the ball far better". Those teams are the best.

"We haven't in the last few years got anywhere near any of those teams when it's come to tournaments and finals and the rest of it, so that's why we need to play them".

"But the downfalls we will analyse and we see are easily corrected".

"We should have got a result". You find out where you are against the very best'. With the ball we caused a lot of problems, looked a threat, created good openings, took our first goal very well.

They went on to get an upper hand in score shortly before the break.

"The game's at 2-2 with them down to 10 men, that's a chance to really dominate the game and kill them, and that didn't happen for reasons we will analyse together and progress from there". We had a look at that in training in fact.

"We're seeing that not only in terms of responsibility but the way the group are prepared to contribute when we're discussing games, when we're reviewing games". Part of that was because we exhausted.

"I thought part of that was because we were exhausted, I think we put a huge amount into the game to try and press and to deal with the physical capabilities France had - and it was a problem for us all night, their pace and their athleticism".

Massa took around one minute to make his decision, talking into his earpiece as he consulted the video assistant referee while France's players remonstrated, some shaking their heads and with midfielder Paul Pogba laughing in disbelief.

"If you're a little bit out in the way you press or defend, then you get punished".