international friendlies

Friendlies: France and Germany fall to defeats

February 11, 2009

Diego Maradona maintained his 100% record as Argentina coach thanks to goals by Jonas Gutierrez and Lionel Messi in a prestigious friendly against France in Marseille.

GettyImagesLionel Messi celebrates his goal for Argentina.

Newcastle midfielder Gutierrez dragged a low shot home at the near post in the 41st-minute to put the Albicelestes ahead and the in-form Messi added gloss with a superb second seven minutes from time.

A well-organised Norway took advantage of some diabolical defending to beat Germany 1-0 in Dusseldorf.

Christian Grindheim's goal in the 63rd minute earned Egil Olsen's side a deserved victory against a lacklustre Germany, who followed up their defeat to England in Berlin late last year with a second straight loss on home soil.

Eduardo da Silva marked his return from injury by setting up Niko Kranjcar's winner in Croatia's 2-1 victory over Romania.

The 25-year-old has been out for a year after suffering an horrific broken leg while playing for Arsenal, but he was brought on by coach Slaven Bilic after an hour before laying on the pass that allowed Kranjcar to seal victory.

Romania, without injured striker Adrian Mutu, opened the scoring in the 22nd minute through Ciprian Marica but Croatia equalised through Ivan Rakitic before Kranjcar hit the winner with 15 minutes left.

Chelsea striker Didier Drogba marked his return to international action with an injury-time strike which earned Ivory Coast a 1-1 draw against Turkey at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium.

Drogba had not played for his country for more than a year but he tapped home late on after Gokhan Unal had put the home side ahead in the 11th minute with a curling right-foot shot.

Portugal left it until the 79th minute to seal their 1-0 win over Finland thanks to a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty.

Wales dominated most of their game with Poland in Portugal but went down 1-0 thanks to a clever chip from Legia Warsaw's Roger Guerreiro 10 minutes from time.

Iceland, meanwhile, travelled to La Manga where they beat Liechtenstein 2-0 thanks to strikes from Arnar Smárason and Eidur Gudjohnsen.

Greece and Denmark shared the honours after a low-key friendly at the Georgios Karaiskakis stadium in Athens ended in a 1-1 draw.

Jonas Borring gave Denmark the lead early in the second half but his strike was cancelled out by Portsmouth's on-loan striker Theofanis Gekas, who bundled in Vassilis Torosidis' pull-back just after the hour mark.

Daniel van Buyten's double strike condemned Slovenia to defeat in Belgium while Ruslan Baltiyev's brace gave Kazakhstan a win over Estonia at Le Coq Arena by the same 2-0 margin.

Vitalijus Kavaliauskas, Darvydas Sernas and Andrius Velicka were on target for Lithuania in their 3-1 win over Andorra, who scored a late consolation from the penalty spot through Antoni Lima.

Switzerland's Benjamin Huggel scored in first-half injury-time to deny Bulgaria a win at the Stade de Geneve after Ivelin Popov had opened the scoring for the away side.

Valeriu Andronic cancelled out Goran Pandev's opener to snatch a draw for Moldova against Macedonia in Skopje and Yossi Benayoun's close-range goal in the 76th minute earned Israel a 1-0 win over Hungary in Tel Aviv.

Austria and Sweden played out a goalless draw at the Ernst Happel Stadion while Armenia's game at Latvia ended with the same score.

Meanwhile, South Africa's preparations for the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup were dealt a blow tonight when they suffered a 2-0 friendly loss to Chile in Polokwane.

The 2010 FIFA World Cup hosts were looking for a sixth consecutive win under Joel Santana, but were denied as goals from Jorge Valdivia (45) and Alexis Sanchez (67) handed the South Americans a comfortable victory.

Another host nation for 2010, Angola - who will host the African Nations Cup next January - were also soundly beaten on home soil, going down 4-0 to Mali.

Soumaila Coulibaly (15), Mustapha Yatabare (18) and Frederic Kanoute (34) handed the visitors a comfortable half-time lead before Sidi Keita (65) extended the advantage, sending the west Africans to an easy win.

In a thrilling encounter in Cairo, the 2008 CAF National Team of the Year, Egypt, and their Coach of the Year, Hassan Shehata, were held to a 2-2 draw by Ghana.

Middlesbrough midfielder Mohamed Shawky put the hosts ahead after 40 minutes, but his strike was cancelled out by a John Boye penalty seven minutes after the break.

Black Stars captain John Mensah (76) then put his side ahead, but Emad Meteb struck six minutes from time to spare his side's blushes.

Elsewhere, two second-half goals from Samuel Eto'o helped Cameroon seal a comfortable 3-1 win against Guinea.

Geremi (31) gave his side the lead with Eto'o (58) doubling the advantage, before Pascal Feindouno (84) pulled a goal back.

But the Barcelona frontman scored three minutes from the end to restore his side's two-goal advantage.

In another thrilling game, Uruguay fought back from a goal down to beat a stubborn Libya side 3-2.

Sebastian Eguren (13) put the visitors in front early on, before goals from Mohamed Esnani (31) and Osama Fazzanee (57) turned proceedings in favour of the north Africans.

But Jorge Martinez (70) and Alvaro Pereira (74) scored twice in four minutes to seal the win.

In other results, Mozambique beat Malawi 2-0, the Czech Republic held Morocco to a goalless draw, Togo and Burkina Faso drew 1-1 and Algeria beat Benin 2-1.