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France claimed an exciting 3-2 friendly win over the Netherlands on a night of emotion in Amsterdam on Friday, the day after Dutch legend Johan Cruyff died at the age of 68.
France defeat Dutch on night of Cruyff emotion
03/26/2016
 
Netherlands vs France

France claimed an exciting 3-2 friendly win over the Netherlands on a night of emotion in Amsterdam on Friday, the day after Dutch legend Johan Cruyff died at the age of 68.


The match at the Amsterdam Arena was preceded by a minute's silence in memory of the 31 people killed and 300 injured in the Brussels attacks on Tuesday.


The game was then paused in the 14th minute for 60 seconds of applause, as the players and supporters remembered Cruyff, the man who pioneered 'Total Football' and inspired the Netherlands to the 1974 World Cup final.


Before that though, Euro 2016 hosts France had taken control on their way to a win that sends a real message to their rivals for the continental title.


Antoine Griezmann sparked the match into life early on as he gave France the lead with a precise left-footed free-kick, and Olivier Giroud lashed home from close range to make it two in the 13th minute.


Home manager Danny Blind responded by making two changes at half-time, and his men dragged themselves back into the match through Luuk de Jong.


Substitute Ibrahim Afellay drove the Netherlands level in the 86th minute, but there was still time for Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Blaise Matuidi to snatch the victory for Les Bleus.


"There were some very good things. Our attacking trio created a lot of problems for the Dutch defence," said France coach Didier Deschamps.


"In the second half it wasn't the same players, so you can't judge it the same. After a long break of five months we did some good things and got the win."

Bulgaria vs Portugal

Cristiano Ronaldo missed a penalty for the second time in a week as Portugal slumped to a 1-0 defeat to Bulgaria in Leiria.


Brazilian-born Marcelinho bundled the away team, who unlike their hosts have not qualified for the Euros, into a surprise lead in the 19th minute.


Bulgaria held on, with the help of goalkeeper Vladislav Stoyanov's second-half save from Ronaldo, who also missed a spot-kick for Real Madrid on Sunday.


The Republic of Ireland put in the type of stubborn performance that typified their successful Euro qualifying campaign by edging past Switzerland 1-0 in Dublin.


The Irish, who took four points off world champions Germany in qualifying, took the lead in the second minute when Aston Villa centre-back Ciaran Clark headed in from a corner.


Switzerland dominated possession but could not break down Martin O'Neill's hosts, who hung on for an impressive victory.


Slovakia, who will take on England, Russia and Wales in Group B at the Euros, played out a goalless draw with Latvia in Trnava.

Source: Jed Court AFP
 
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