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

night.

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

Pereira.

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

1-1 tie.