Friday 23 March 2018

Blanc's new boys fail to shine

An experimental France team lost 2-1 in Norway last night in their first outing since a shambolic World Cup campaign. Forward Erik Huseklepp scored twice for the home side after Laurent Blanc's side opened the scoring through substitute Hatem Ben Arfa shortly after the break.

World Cup winners Spain needed an injury time equaliser from David Silva to earn a 1-1 draw against Mexico in front of 105,000 at the Azteca Stadium. Manchester United's Javier Hernandez had given the home side the lead.

An inexperienced Netherlands side were held to a 1-1 draw by Ukraine with Jeremain Lens scoring for the Dutch in their first outing since losing the World Cup final.

Craig Levein refused to read too much into his first defeat as Scotland manager after their inexperienced team suffered a 3-0 defeat to Sweden for whom Zlatan Ibrahimovic marked his international return with a goal. Northern Ireland were undone by two goals from Radomir Djalovic in a 2-0 defeat to Montenegro, but there was better news for Wales, who scored four second-half goals including to beat Luxembourg 5-1.

Irish Independent

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