International Friendly round up
This weekend has seen most of the participants for the European Championships have their final friendly games before the tournament begins on Saturday and saw a mixed bag of results.
France could only draw 0-0 against Paraguay in Paris, though they did hit the post twice. Missing, Thuram, Vieira, Sagnol and Gallas, Les Blues will be pleased with the run out, but not necessarily the performance. The French will play Colombia in Paris on Tuesday night, which should see Thierry Henry get his 100th cap.
Spain had to thank Joan Capdevilla for an injury time winner to put a spirited Peru side down 2-1. David Villa had put Spain ahead in the first half, and Europe’s most underrated midfielder, Xavi, hit the post before Hernán Rengifo brought them level. Torres, Alonso and Fabregas all got 45 minutes under their belts and look forward to the game for the USA on Wednesday.
Michael Ballack hit another late winner as Germany huffed and puffed against Serbia, winning 2-1. The Germans had trailed for most of the game after Boško Jankovi?’s opener. Oliver Neuville had equalised but it wasn’t a convincing performance from Germany and following the 2-2 draw with Belarus, coach Joachim Low will be hoping that they can hit the ground running in the opening match against rivals Poland. Holland were rampant against a dogged Welsh side this afternoon in Feyenoord. Robben and Sneijder hit the goals to send them off to the championships in good heart. The match also saw Edwin Van der Saar receive bouquets of flowers to mark his 125th game and the legendary keeper will retire from international tournament after the tournament.
Italy also had an impressive win in Florence, 3-1 over Belgium. Di Natale got two goals for the Azzurri who will be ready for the clash on June the 9th with the Dutch. Mauro Camoranesi hit the Italians third goal from a Del Piero pass.
Croatia drew 1-1 with Hungary who beat Greece this week. Niko Kovac made it a memorable game for him personally by scoring for both sides. Romania and Portugal both finished the warm up period with emphatic wins. Romania put 4 past Macedonia, Portugal got 2 against Georgia. The Czech Republic had an impressive win on Friday night, beating Scotland 3-1, Austria hit Malta for 5, The Swiss won 3-0 against Liechtenstein, Alexander Frei becoming the Swiss’ all time leading scorer with 2 of the goals taking his tally to 35.
Greece will be hoping for a better performance away at Armenia tonight after the defeat to Hungary. As defending champions, they are not the unheralded side of four years ago and will do well to not finish bottom of their group. Turkey beat Finland 2-0 and Russia beat Serbia 2-1.
France play Colombia on Tuesday night, Wednesday sees Russia entertain Lithuania and Spain play the USA in the final friendlies before the real business starts at 5pm on Saturday.