International Fixtures Round-up
>After a big week of international matches, including Euro 2012 qualifiers and a handful of friendlies, here’s all the latest developments from the big football nations.
England 3/9, London, Euro qualifier, England 4 Bulgaria 0’‘7/9, Basel, Euro qualifier, Switzerland 1 England 3’’
Young winger Adam Johnson scored two goals in two games for England to reinforce his claims for a regular starting-berth. As England looks to the future, Johnson firmly put his hand up as a readymade young star.
Jermain Defoe also made the headlines with his hat-trick against Bulgaria, while Joe Hart did another good job for the Three Lions in a positive sign. A good week for Fabio Capello who could afford a little smile after Darren Bent’s late goal against the Swiss.
Spain 3/9, Vaduz, Euro qualifier, Liechtenstein 0 Spain 4’‘7/9, Buenos Aires, friendly, Argentina 4 Spain 1’’
The European and world champions were carved up by Argentina on a rare off-day for the Spanish. Goalkeeper Pepe Reina made a horrendous error in the defeat.
In some good news, Fernando Torres hit the back of the net twice in the easy 4-0 rout over Liechtenstein. After a poor World Cup, the double will help Torres feel at ease with the Spanish.
Germany 3/9, Brussels, Euro qualifier, Belgium 0 Germany 1’‘7/9, Cologne, Euro qualifier, Germany 6 Azerbaijian’’
Manuel Neuer had plenty to do against Belgium but his blunder against Berti Vogts’ Azerbaijan gifted the minnows a goal.
Against Belgium, Miroslav Klose’s second-half goal proved decisive and grabbed another two against Azerbaijan. A good double fixture for the Germans who are on their way to Euro 2012.
Netherlands 3/9, San Marino, Euro qualifier, San Marino 0 Netherlands 5’‘7/9, Rotterdam, Euro qualifier, Netherlands 2 Finland 1’’
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar made the headlines for the Dutch with five goals over the two matches. Huntelaar will now line up for new club Schalke 04 to make his debut on the weekend.
Other news for the Dutch was Ruud van Nistelrooy hitting the back of the net again. The goal took him to within six goals of Netherlands record-holder Patrick Kluivert’s mark of 40 strikes.
Italy 3/9, Tallinn, Euro qualifier, Estonia 1 Italy 2’‘7/9, Florence, Euro qualifier, Italy 5 Faroe Islands 0’’
Antonio Cassano was the hero for the Azzurri with a goal and an assist in their come-from-behind win in Estonia. Luciano Spalletti’s decision to call up Cassano, who missed selection for South Africa 2010, was clearly justified.
Against the Faroes it was pretty smooth sailing, with Cassano grabbing another, while Alberto Gilardino scored to end an 11-month drought.
France 3/9, Paris, Euro qualifier, France 0 Belarus 1’‘7/9, Sarajevo, Euro qualifier, Bosnia-Herzegovina 0 France 2’’
Florent Malouda skippered a weakened Les Bleus side in Laurent Blanc’s first competitive match in charge as they were stunned by Belarus in the French capital.
France’s misery turned to glory when they scored two second-half goals to claim an impressive 2-0 victory in Bosnia. Karim Benzema impressed on his return with a strike.
Portugal 3/9, Leiria, Euro qualifier, Portugal 4 Cyprus 4’‘7/9, Oslo, Euro qualifier, Norway 1 Portugal 0’’
A Portugal side minus star man Cristiano Ronaldo and boss Carlos Queiroz were shown up in an awful week following two poor results.
Argentina 7/9, Buenos Aires, friendly, Argentina 4 Spain 1
Argentina’s interim boss Sergio Batista did his reputation no harm and showed life beyond Diego Maradona was bright with a wonderful thrashing of the Spaniards. Lionel Messi dazzled, while Gonzalo Higuain and Carlos Tevez were dangerous too.
Mexico 4/9, Guadalajara, friendly, Mexico 1 Ecuador 2’‘7/9, Guadalajara, friendly, Mexico 1 Colombia 0’’
Elias Hernan Hernandez got the winner for El Tri against Colombia after a disappointing loss to Ecuador. Not the worst international break for the Mexicans.
Japan 4/9, Saitama, friendly, Japan 1 Paraguay 0
The Blue Samurai edged their World Cup last-16 replay thanks to Dortmund star Shinji Kagawa’s goal. Japan looked dangerous throughout and deserved the win.
Australia 3/9, St Gallen, friendly, Switzerland 0 Australia 0’‘7/9, Krakow, friendly, Poland 1 Australia 2’’
New Socceroos boss Holger Osieck took charge of his troops for the first time and impressed with a positive style which culminated in a win in Poland with World Cup star Brett Holman scoring again.
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