Sport : Football

Germany sink France; Spain win

7th February 2013, 03:43pm

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Germany celebrate against France in Paris

Germany celebrate against France in Paris

A review of Wednesday's international friendly action so far, including victories for Germany and Spain.

Germany came from behind to beat France for the first time since 1987 as they claimed a 2-1 friendly victory in Paris on Wednesday night.

Mathieu Valbuena provided the finishing touch to a dramatic, action-packed first half by putting Les Bleus in front, but Thomas Muller and Sami Khedira turned the tables in the second 45 minutes as Germany started the year with a win.

Although Germany's second goal should have been ruled out for offside, they had arguably done enough to celebrate victory in the French capital.

Spain gave themselves the perfect confidence booster ahead of their upcoming World Cup qualifiers next month by recording a comfortable 3-1 victory over Uruguay in Doha, Qatar.

Cesc Fabregas gave the European and world champions the lead after 15 minutes at the Khalifa Stadium but Cristian Rodriguez levelled for Oscar Tabarez's side on the half-hour mark.

Pedro Rodriguez restored Spain's lead just after half-time and then secured the victory with a close-range finish with 15 minutes to go.

Substitute Marco Verratti spared Italy from a sixth consecutive friendly defeat by restricting Holland to a 1-1 draw with his last-gasp goal at the Amsterdam ArenA.

Cesare Prandelli's Azzurri offered precious little in attack before the break, leaving Gianluigi Buffon to single-handedly keep a dynamic Holland side at bay, with only Jeremain Lens breaking the Juventus goalkeeper's resolve.

Italy steadily rallied in the second half, thanks to the introduction of Pablo Osvaldo, Alberto Gilardino and Verratti, with the latter two combining to produce a late equaliser.

Three goals in the opening 23 minutes earned Argentina a 3-1 victory in their friendly against Sweden at Nya Ullevi Stadion.

A Mikael Lustig own goal put Argentina ahead after only three minutes before Jonas Olsson equalised in the 17th minute.

Sergio Aguero put the South Americans ahead again and Gonzalo Higuain made it 3-1 in the 23rd minute.

Rasmus Elm netted Sweden's second goal in the 94th minute with a fine free-kick, but it was too little too late to deny the Argentinians.

Russia, who boast arguably the most impressive record so far from a European side in World Cup qualifying with four wins from four and no goals conceded, were also victorious with a 2-0 win over Iceland.

However, the Russians' Group F rivals Portugal did not have such a successful evening as they were beaten 3-2 by Ecuador in Guimaraes.

Ecuador, who are second behind Argentina in the South American World Cup qualifying group, went ahead after just two minutes through Manchester United winger Antonio Valencia but Portugal hit back with goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Helder Postiga to lead 2-1 heading into the final half-hour.

Postiga's 58th-minute effort was cancelled out almost immediately by a Joao Pereira own goal, though, and former Manchester City striker Felipe Caicedo netted what would turn out to be the winning goal for Ecuador 20 minutes from time.

Two early goals helped the Czech Republic heap more problems on struggling Turkey with a 2-0 win at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium.

Ladislav Krejci opened the scoring in the fourth minute and David Lafata added a second in the 28th minute as the Czechs took the honours.

For Turkey, the defeat is the latest in a series of disappointing results which has seen the Euro 2008 semi-finalists win just one of their last seven matches.

They have earned just three points from their opening four World Cup qualifying matches and are nine points behind Group D leaders Holland heading into March's double-header against Andorra and Hungary.

The Czechs resume their bid to reach Brazil 2014 next month against a Denmark side who have yet to win in three Group B matches and crashed to a 3-0 friendly defeat to FYR Macedonia, all three goals coming in the opening half-hour.

A late goal helped Belgium earn a 2-1 win over Slovakia. Dries Mertens netted a 90th-minute winner for the Belgians, three minutes after Slovakia's Ricaard Lasik had levelled up an early penalty from Chelsea playmaker Eden Hazard.

Croatia captain Darijo Srna celebrated his 100th cap by scoring in an 4-0 win against South Korea at Fulham's Craven Cottage.

The 30-year-old Shakhtar Donetsk mainstay curled in a 41st minute strike to add to Mario Mandzukic's earlier header, with Nikica Jelavic coming off the bench to score the third and Mladen Petric adding the fourth at his home ground.

Bosnia-Herzegovina, who lead Group G on goal difference from Greece, were 3-0 friendly winners over Slovenia, while Dusan Tadic netted a brace as Serbia defeated Cyprus 3-1.

Elsewhere, Romania scored twice late on to beat Australia 3-2, Japan beat Latvia 3-0, Greece drew 0-0 with Switzerland and Georgia defeated Albania 2-1.

Ukraine were 2-0 victors over Norway, Azerbaijan downed Liechtenstein 1-0, Hungary tied 1-1 with Belarus, Israel beat Finland 2-1 and Chile defeated Egypt by the same scoreline.


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