Matuidi clinches France win as Portugal fall

Blaise Matuidi gave France victory against the Netherlands in a game marked by tributes to Johan Cruyff, while the Republic of Ireland beat Switzerland, Portugal lost to Bulgaria and Slovakia drew.

Blaise Matuidi celebrates his winner in Amsterdam
©AFP/Getty Images

Netherlands 2-3 France(De Jong 47, Afellay 86; Griezmann 6, Giroud 13, Matuidi 88)
France: Mandanda; Evra (Digne 46), Koscielny, Varane, Jallet; Matuidi, Diarra (Kanté 46), Pogba (Sissoko 87); Payet, Giroud (Gignac 73), Griezmann (Martial 46).

In a match halted in the 14th minute for 60 seconds of applause as a tribute to Johan Cruyff, Blaise Matuidi clinched a thrilling victory for the UEFA EURO 2016 hosts. A brilliant 20-minute free-kick and Olivier Giroud's volley following a Matuidi header had put France 2-0 up just ahead of the mark of respect for Cruyff. It seemed that a second-half recovery from a Netherlands side thinking of 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying had denied France at Amsterdam ArenA (set to be renamed in Cruyff's honour). But Matiudi, wearing the No14 synonymous with the great Dutchman, had other ideas soon after the equaliser, turning the ball in following good work by Dmitri Payet and Anthony Martial.

A tribute to Johan Cruyff at Amsterdam ArenA
A tribute to Johan Cruyff at Amsterdam ArenA©AFP/Getty Images

Republic of Ireland 1-0 Switzerland (Clark 2)
Republic of Ireland: Randolph; Coleman, Duffy, Clark, Brady; Judge, Meyler (O'Kane 61, Quinn (McCarthy 61), McGeady (Hayes 61); Long (McClean 84), Doyle (Murphy 26, Hoolahan 79).

Switzerland: Sommer; Lang (Widmer 82), Schar, Klose, Rodriguez (Moubandje 77); Dzemaili (Tarashaj 71), Xhaka, Behrami (Fernandes 71); Embolo, Seferovic (Steffan 61), Mehmedi (Kasami 71).

Ireland celebrate their goal
Ireland celebrate their goal©AFP/Getty Images

A rare goal from defender Ciarán Clark have Ireland victory against their fellow finalists in front of 35,450 fans at the Dublin Arena, though the win was overshadowed by a first-half injury to striker Kevin Doyle, taken to hospital for treatment. Robbie Brady's second-minute corner was flicked on to Clark by his fellow defender Shane Duffy and headed beyond the reach of Yann Sommer. Haris Seferovic and Granit Zhaka forced saves from Darren Randolph but he claimed a clean sheet on a night when Shane Long and Shane Duffy impressed for Ireland.

Cristiano Ronaldo could find no way past Bulgaria
Cristiano Ronaldo could find no way past Bulgaria©AFP/Getty Images

Portugal 0-1 Bulgaria(Marcelinho 19)
Portugal: Anthony Lopes; Vieirinha, Pepe, Bruno Alves, Eliseu (Raphael Guerreiro 81); William Carvalho (Renato Sanches 74), Adrien Silva (Danny 65), João Mário (Danilo Pereira 75), Rafa (Quaresma 65); Nani (Eder 83), Cristiano Ronaldo.

Portugal dominated in Leiria but fell to defeat when, on a rare Bulgaria attack, debutant Marcelinho evaded Pepe and Vieirnha, giving Anthony Lopes no chance with his low shot. Portugal regrouped but lacked inspiration, something that goalkeeper Vladislav Stoyanov had in abundance, even stopping a 66th-minute Cristiano Ronaldo's penalty, just as he did in last season's UEFA Champions League for Ludogorets Razgrad against Real Madrid. Renato Sanches, 18, made his Portugal bow in the 74th minute.

Marek Hamšík (right) heads for Slovakia
Marek Hamšík (right) heads for Slovakia©AFP/Getty Images

Slovakia 0-0 Latvia
Slovakia: Mucha; Pekarík, Škrtel (Švento 82), Ďurica, Hubočan; Hrošovský; Mak, Duda, Hamšík (Sabo 89), Weiss; Ďuriš.

Slovakia remain stuck on 99 international wins after their 251st match, though they kept a clean sheet as they welcomed Martin Škrtel back from a thigh injury to leave them at full strength in defence. Holding midfielder Patrik Hrošovský proved an able deputy for Juraj Kucka, who returned to AC Milan on Thursday due to muscle problems. It took one hour for Slovakia to get an effort on target despite seven first-half attempts, though with the rain after the interval came more home chances through Róbert Mak, Marek Hamšík and Vladimír Weiss, as the search for the right attacking combination goes on.

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