International friendly roundup, Aug. 11

BY foxsports • August 11, 2010

Spain returned to action exactly a month after winning the World Cup to draw 1-1 at Mexico with an injury-time goal, while the Netherlands drew 1-1 at Ukraine in its first game since losing the final.

David Silva scored in the second minute of added time for the Spanish, who trailed for almost the whole of what amounted to a practice game for the out-of-shape world champions - most of whom are just coming off vacation.

England and Argentina bounced back from humiliating World Cup exits with wins, although England had to recover from a goal down to beat Hungary 2-1 at Wembley. Argentina won 1-0 at Ireland under interim coach Sergio Batista.

Germany let slip a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2 with Denmark, and France lost 2-1 at Norway after new coach Laurent Blanc dropped all 23 of the players who went on strike at the World Cup.

Spain, which beat the Netherlands 1-0 in the July 11 World Cup final in Johannesburg, arrived late Monday, so its players had little time to get accustomed to Mexico City's altitude of 2,250 meters (7,350 feet).

Spain captain Iker Casillas showed off the World Cup trophy to the crowd at Azteca Stadium but the goalkeeper, one of only three finalists to keep their starting place in the side, was beaten in the 12th by Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez.

The Netherlands rested its World Cup players and fielded an inexperienced team but led in the 72nd through debut-making striker Jeremain Lens. Midfielder Oleksandr Aliev equalized a minute later.

Steven Gerrard saved England's pride in its first match since its 4-1 World Cup loss to Germany with two goals at Wembley. After hitting a swerving drive from outside the area to equalize, the England captain spun turned to beat two defenders inside the area, dodged a third and flicked the ball across the goalkeeper and into the net.

''I am happy with the performance,'' England coach Fabio Capello said. ''We played well in the first 30 minutes, but the last 10 minutes of the first half were not so good.''

But England, which refreshed its World Cup lineup with the addition of a new goalkeeper and two young wingers, was again hit by FIFA's continued aversion to implement goal-line technology.

Debut-making substitute Michael Dawson tried to atone for a slip when he cleared an interception by fellow defender Phil Jagielka off the line, but the referee awarded a 62nd-minute own-goal even through replays appeared to show that the ball had not crossed the line.

England also missed out at the World Cup with an apparent equalizer when 2-1 down to Germany only for the goal not to be given despite crossing the line.

Argentina interim coach Sergio Batista strengthened his case to be given the job full time Wednesday when his team won a friendly 1-0 at Ireland, secured through Angel di Maria's 20th-minute lob over goalkeeper Shay Given.

Batista is Argentina's youth team coach and is in temporary charge of the senior squad after Diego Maradona was fired following an inquest into the 4-0 World Cup quarterfinal defeat to Germany.

Germany coach Joachim Loew only took seven players from his World Cup squad to play Denmark, which also selected an inexperienced lineup.

Denmark rallied from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Germany in an international friendly on Wednesday following Mads Junker's late equalizer.

Germany led 1-0 in the 19th minute through Mario Gomez and Patrick Helmes rounded off a counterattack for 2-0 in the 73rd.

But Denmark veteran Dennis Rommedahl scored a minute later in his 100th international and Mads Junker equalized in the 86th after goalkeeper Tim Wiese lost the ball.

Blanc's inexperienced France team led in Oslo when substitute Hatem Ben Arfa scored from long range in the 48th, but Erik Huseklepp equalized three minutes later and then hit a winner in the 71st after France midfielder Lassana Diarra gave away the ball.

Huseklepp cut through between defenders, went past goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier and slipped the ball into an open net.

Former Netherlands, South Korea and Russia coach Guus Hiddink made a winning debut with Turkey, leading his new team to a 2-0 victory over Romania. Emre Belozoglu scored a penalty in the 82nd and Arda Turan extended the lead four minutes later.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored four minutes into his return from a short-lived international retirement to lead Sweden to a 3-0 win over Scotland in Stockholm.

The Barcelona striker rounded off a neat passing move from close range before Emir Bajrami volleyed in a 39th-minute rebound from a save by goalkeeper Allan McGregor, and Ola Toivonen added a third goal in the second half.

Also Wednesday, Greece beat Serbia 1-0, Samuel Eto'o scored twice to lead Cameroon to a 3-0 victory over Poland, Croatia drew 1-1 at Slovakia and South Africa beat Ghana 1-0.

Czech Republic beat Latvia 4-1, Slovenia beat Australia 2-0 and Finland beat Belgium 1-0.

Qualifying for the 2012 European Championship also began with a single game Wednesday, with Estonia scoring twice in injury time for a 2-1 win over Faeroe Islands.

Faeroe Islands took the lead in the first half with a shot by Joan Simun Edmundsson, but Kaimar Saag equalized in the 91st and Raio Piiroja clinched the victory two minutes later.

Estonia plays Italy next in Group C on Sept. 3. The four-time world champions warmed up for the match with a 1-0 friendly loss to Ivory Coast on Tuesday.


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