Neymar scored his second international hat trick to lead Brazil over South Africa 5-0 Wednesday night and Cristiano Ronaldo had a pair of goals to set Portugal’s career scoring record in a 5-1 win over Cameroon as all 32 World Cup teams prepared for the tournament.
Neymar raised his total to 30 international goals by scoring in the 41st and 46th minutes and in second-half stoppage time at Johannesburg. Oscar and Fernandinho also had goals for World Cup host Brazil, which wore its home yellow jerseys in the first half and switched to road blue for the second half.
Ronaldo’s goals in the 21st and 83rd minutes raised his total to 49 in 110 matches since his international debut in 2003. The 29-year-old has two goals more the previous Portugal record set by Pauleta from 1997-06.
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”I knew it would come eventually,” Ronaldo said. ”It’s special because I’ve been in the national team for 10 years now. It’s all down to hard work.”
Just 99 days before the tournament opens in Sao Paulo, all World Cup teams had matches on the only date before mid-May that clubs had to release their players.
Defending champion Spain beat visiting Italy 1-0 in a 63-minute goal by Pedro Rodriguez. England won 1-0 at home against Denmark on Daniel Sturridge’s headed goal from Adam Lallana’s cross in the 82nd minute.
”I don’t think we were effective as we wanted to be because we didn’t get the ball forward quick enough,” England coach Roy Hodgson said.
Argentina and Lionel Messi were held to a 0-0 tie at Romania. Germany beat visiting Chile 1-0 as Mario Goetze scored against the run of play in the 16th minute after Mesut Ozil eluded three defenders on the edge of the penalty area.
The United States lost 2-0 to Ukraine in a match moved from Kharkiv to Larnaca, Cyprus, because of political turmoil in the Eastern European nation. Andriy Yarmolenko scored in the 12th minute and Marko Devic in the 68th as Ukraine exposed the shaky American central defense of Oguchi Onyewu and Anthony Brooks.
France beat the visiting Netherlands 2-0, ending a 17-game unbeaten streak for the Dutch. Karim Benzema scored in the 32nd minute off a pass from Blaise Matuidi, who scored in the 41st.
Belgium, thought by some to be a World Cup contender, tied 2-2 at home against Ivory Coast. The Belgians built a two-goal lead as Marouane Fellaini scored in the 18th minute and Radja Nainggolan in the 51st before Didier Drogba scored his 63rd international goal in the 74th and Max Gradel got the tying goal in the second minute of stoppage time.
In London, Ecuador rallied to beat Australia 4-3. Fidel Martinez, Segundo Castillo, Enner Valencia and Edison Mendez scored for Ecuador. New York Red Bulls player Tom Cahill scored two for Australia to become the country’s leading scorer with 31 goals.
Japan got four goals in the first 13 minutes in a 4-2 win over visiting New Zealand, with Shinji Okazaki opening and closing his team’s scoring around a penalty kick by Shinji Kagawa and Masato Morishige’s header off Keisuke Honda’s free kick. Chris Wood scored twice for New Zealand, which failed to qualify for the World Cup.
At the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Mexico and Nigeria played to a scoreless draw in front of 68,212 fans. Raul Jimenez’s late header for Mexico went just wide.
In Central America, New England Revolution forward Jerry Bengston and Jerry Palacious scored in Honduras’ 2-1 home victory over Venezuela, and Arsenal forward Joel Campbell and Jorge Rojas scored in Costa Rica’s 2-0 victory over visiting Paraguay.