It was a productive evening for England last night as a refreshing new lineup took a deserved win away from Bern, Switzerland against their Euro 2012 conquerors Italy.
But what were the other major stories from the traditionally ill timed round of international friendlies?
The marquee friendly was that of Germany vs Argentina in Frankfurt and the game was a lively affair. After former Manchester United trainee Ron-Robert Zieler was sent off for a professional foul Marc Andre Ter Stegen was introduced between the Germany sticks; and was tasked immediately with saving the resulting penalty from Lionel Messi.
In a move that saw the 20 year old trending on Twitter; Ter Stegen’s first touch as a full international was to save the world’s best players kick, you can see it here...
However ten man Germany were never a match for Argentina who ran out comfortable 3-1 winners after an own goal from Sami Khedira, Messi salvation and Angel Di Maria’s wonderful 35 yard strike.
Benedikt Howedes scored Germany’s consolation goal.
Mixed results for the other home nations in action last night as Scotland buried the disappointing result against USA in May with an impressive 3-1 victory over Australia. Jordan Rhodes sealed an impressive first international start by scoring Scotland’s first, Danny Fox’s aimless cross was diverted into his own net by Socceroo debutant Jason Davidson, 2 minutes in to his international career before Ross McCormack gave Craig Levein a timely reminder of his talents to make it 3-1, after Mark Bresciano had opened the scoring with a stunning goal.
Wales were sunk by Bosnia-Herzegovina in Chris Coleman’s first home game in charge with the Dragons scoring 2 goals without reply courtesy of Stuttgart’s Vedad Ibisevic and Miroslav Stevanovic of Vojvodina’s first international goal.
Northern Ireland took an early 2 goal lead in their friendly through Newcastle’s Shane Ferguson and former Glasgow Rangers striker Kyle Lafferty. They appeared to have thrown it all away however when former Southampton trainee Tim Sparv, Schalke 04 sensation Teemu Pukki and a stunning free kick from Perparim Hetemaj of Chievo saw Finland take a 3-2 lead. However Martin Paterson was fouled in the box late on and the Burnley striker dusted himself off to put it away and seal a deserved draw for Michael O’Neill’s men. Whilst the Republic of Ireland played out a 0-0 draw with Serbia.
Meanwhile Alexandre Pato bagged a brace during Brazil’s 3-0 victory over Sweden; Uruguay and France played out a drab 0-0 draw in Le Havre; Switzerland stunned Croatia by running out 4-2 victors; Fabio Capello’s reign as Russia manager started with a 1-1 draw against Ivory Coast; Portugal and Spain overcame lowly opposition with 2-0 and 2-1 wins over Panama and Puerto Rico respectively, Arsenal’s new signing Santi Cazorla scoring for Spain.
Whilst result of the night goes to Belgium, who overcame Benelux rival’s Netherlands 4-2.
Dries Mertens was the catalyst in a pulsating game in which three goals in 5 second half minutes secured the victory. Mertens pulled it level after goals from Klaas Jan Huntelaar and Luciano Narsingh had given the Dutch a lead before West Brom’s on loan striker Romelu Lukaku and Spurs new boy Jan Vertonghen made it 4-2 after Christian Benteke had originally given Belgium a 1-0 lead. It was Louis van Gaal’s first game in charge of Holland in his second spell at the national helm and defeat in the 125th Low Countries derby would have not been received well in national press.
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