Defeat for Scolari on return as Brazil coach
Luiz Felipe Scolari and Ronaldinho endured disappointing returns
to Brazil’s national team, with England defeating the Selecao for
the first time in 23 years, 2-1 in an exhibition game Wednesday
Wayne Rooney scored in the 26th minute at Wembley, his fourth
goal in his last three games for the English, and Fred tied it in
the 48th for the five-time world champions, playing their first
game since Scolari replaced Mano Menezes. Frank Lampard curled in a
shot off the post in the 60th minute.
”I’m used to losing the first game but after this I’m used to
winning games and winning competitions,” Scolari said. ”I’m not
disappointed and I’m not sad.”
Brazil, which won the 2002 World Cup under Scolari, blew a
chance at an early lead when Joe Hart deflected an 18th-minute
penalty kick by the 32-year-old Ronaldinho, playing his first game
for the national team since October 2011.
Spain, Germany and Argentina all won high-profile exhibitions,
while the United States lost 2-1 at Honduras in the opening match
of the final round of World Cup qualifying in North and Central
America and the Caribbean.
After Clint Dempsey put the U.S. ahead in the 36th minute, Juan
Carlos Garcia tied the score with a bicycle kick in the 40th and
Jerry Bengtson got the game-winner in the 79th.
Mexico lost a 19-game winning streak at Azteca Stadium with a
0-0 draw against Jamaica, and Costa Rica and host Panama played to
a 2-2 tie.
World and European champion Spain extended its unbeaten streak
to 17 games by beating Uruguay 3-1 in Doha, Qatar, on two goals by
Pedro Rodriguez and one by Cesc Fabregas. Spain was captained by
Carles Puyol, who made his 100th national-team appearance.
Germany came from behind to win 2-1 at France as Thomas Mueller
and Sami Khedira second-half goals to overcome Mathieu Valbuena’s
first-half goal on a header after Karim Benzema’s free kick caromed
off the crossbar.
Lionel Messi failed to score but played a key role in
Argentina’s 3-2 win at Sweden. After Mikael Lustig’s own goal in
the third minute and Jonas Olsson’s equalizer for Sweden in the
17th, Argentina got goals from Sergio Aguero in the 19th and
Gonzalo Higuain in the 23rd.
A fan wearing a Barcelona shirt ran onto the field late in the
game and hugged the four-time FIFA Player of the Year and kissed
him on the forehead. The fan was quickly escorted away by security
and Messi wiped his face with his shirt before continuing.
Marco Verratti scored in the second minute of second-half
stoppage time to give Italy a 1-1 draw at the Netherlands, which
had gone ahead on Jeremain Lens’s goal in the 33rd.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 38th international goal for
Portugal, which lost 3-2 at home to Ecuador. Helder Postiga also
scored for Portugal, while Antonio Valencia and Felipe Caicedo
scored for Ecuador around an own goal by Portugal’s Joao
At the African Cup of Nations in South Africa, Nigeria closed in
on its first title since 1994, advancing to Sunday’s final against
a surprising Burkina Faso team looking to lift the trophy for the
first time. Nigeria routed Mali 4-1 to reach the final for the
first time since losing to Cameroon on penalty kicks in the 2000
title game. Burkina Faso upset Ghana 3-2 on penalty kicks after a