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Spain seizes late winner, Germany rolls

May 30, 2010
Associated Press

European champion Spain scrambled to a 3-2 victory over Saudi Arabia in injury time, while crowd trouble by Serbia supporters marred their team's surprise 1-0 loss to New Zealand in World Cup warmup games Saturday.

On a day in which the United States came from behind to defeat Turkey in Philadelphia, a strong Spanish lineup fell behind to Osama Hawsawi's 16th-minute strike at the Austrian city of Innsbruck, where the team is training at altitude for the World Cup in South Africa.

After goals by David Villa and Xabi Alonso, the Saudis came back to make it 2-2 on a goal by Mohammed Al-Sahlawi, and nearly earned an unexpected draw with one of the World Cup favorites, before substitute Fernando Llorente headed home the winner in injury time.

The victory allowed Spain defender Carlos Marchena to surpass Brazil great Garrincha for a record 50 straight games without defeat.

Despite missing four Bayern Munich stars who rested after the Champions League final loss to Inter Milan, Germany outplayed Hungary 3-0 in Budapest.

Lukas Podolski fired home a fifth-minute penalty shot, Mario Gomez added a second in the 69th and Cacau made it 3-0 in the 73rd for the three-time World Cup champions.

In a minor surprise, New Zealand beat Serbia 1-0 in the southern Austrian city of Klagenfurt on a 23rd-minute strike by Shane Smeltz. He finished off a counterattack with a low shot for his 16th goal in 29 appearances for a victory that will boost the Kiwis.

In scenes that might alarm World Cup organizers, however, the match was briefly interrupted shortly before the end when Serb fans threw fireworks and got onto the field.

The Serbs are in one of the toughest groups, facing Germany, Australia and Ghana, and their inability to score against one of the weakest of the 32 teams will do little for confidence.

Heading for only their second World Cup, the Kiwis are preparing to take on defending champion Italy, Paraguay and Slovakia in group play in South Africa, and had the chance to see one of their opponents in the same stadium.

Slovakia earned a 1-1 against Cameroon, with Kamil Kopunek giving Slovakia a sixth-minute lead and Eyong Enoh punishing some sloppy defending to knot the game in the 83rd.

Slovakia plays New Zealand, Paraguay and Italy at the World Cup, while Cameroon is grouped with Japan, Denmark and the Netherlands.

Samuel Eto'o, who has threatened to walk out of Cameroon's World Cup team after criticism by former star Roger Milla, missed the game. The striker was given time to rest after winning the Champions League final with Inter Milan last week.

There are warmup games almost every day in the coming week before the World Cup kicks off on June 11 in Johannesburg. Among Sunday's matches, England and Japan meet in the Austrian city of Graz, where both are practicing at high altitude; Paraguay plays Ivory Coast; and France, Nigeria, Mexico and South Korea are also in action.


Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press