• International friendlies round-up

Superb England stun Brazil

ESPN staff
February 6, 2013
© PA Photos

England claimed a superb 2-1 win in their prestigious friendly with Brazil at Wembley, Gareth Bale inspired Wales to a win over Austria and Gordon Strachan kicked off life a Scotland boss with victory over Estonia.

Brazil sensation Neymar claimed England were no threat with regard to the World Cup and were too reliant on Wayne Rooney. He was made to eat a portion of his words, as the Samba stars were second best - with Rooney on target for England. Fred drew Brazil level at the start of the second half but Frank Lampard, seemingly surplus to requirements at Chelsea, curled home a cracker to hand Roy Hodgson the win.

England carried the greater threat from the outset, with Julio Cesar doing well to keep out a drive from Rooney and Danny Welbeck scooping a shot over the bar.

Brazil had the chance to open the scoring, as they were awarded a penalty for handball by Jack Wilshere. Ronaldinho won the penalty and took it, but his low effort was kept out by Joe Hart who arguably did even better to keep out the follow-up effort. Neymar had the third bite at the cherry, but sliced the ball wide.

Theo Walcott was a constant menace, with his pace unsettling Brazil, and had a hand in the opener. The Arsenal man drove past his marker on 26 minutes and forced a save out of Cesar. The keeper could only parry the shot out and Rooney stroked the loose ball through a crowd and into the net.

Neymar, billed by many in Brazil as a future world player of the year, had a big chance to level but he lacked conviction when a cross came his way and he shot high and wide.

Walcott had the chance to double England's lead on the stroke of half time but Cesar kept out his shot and shortly after the restart Brazil were on level terms. A heavy touch from Gary Cahill when driving forward presented the ball to Fred and he took one touch before slamming a shot beyond Hart.

England swiftly regained their composure and Lampard produced a moment of class to restore the lead. A sloppy clearance from the visitors presented Lampard with no more than half a chance, but he curled the ball into the top corner from 20 yards.

Charlie Mulgrew's first goal for Scotland got new boss Gordon Strachan's tenure off to a winning start against Estonia at Pittodrie.

Celtic defender Mulgrew got the only goal in the 38th minute at the home of his former club when he fired in from a Charlie Adam free-kick - his first goal in dark blue.

Gareth Bale continued his sensational recent form with a goal and an assist as Wales claimed a 2-1 victory over Austria at the Liberty Stadium.

The winger made full use of Joe Allen's lovely lofted pass in the 21st minute before supplying a pin-point cross for substitute Sam Vokes to head in the second early in the second half. Captain Marc Janko pulled a goal back for Austria but Wales held on for a valuable win.

Ciaran Clark and Wes Hoolahan scored their first senior international goals to hand Republic of Ireland a morale-boosting 2-0 victory over Poland .

Aston Villa defender Clark thumped home a 35th-minute shot to give Ireland the lead against the run of play, before Norwich midfielder Hoolahan - who had received warm applause when he was introduced as a second-half replacement for Shane Long - cemented victory 14 minutes from time with an accomplished finish.

Spain claimed a 3-1 victory in an entertaining friendly encounter with Uruguay in Qatar.

Cesc Fabregas gave Spain the lead as Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera flapped hopelessly at his long-distance strike, but Cristian Rodriguez levelled the scores after 32 minutes.

Spain triumphed, though, through two second-half goals from Pedro Rodriguez - the second courtesy of a superb Fabregas assist.

Germany came from behind to beat France for the first time since 1987 with a 2-1 win in Paris.

Mathieu Valbuena provided the finishing touch to a dramatic, action-packed first half by putting Les Bleus in front, but Thomas Muller and Sami Khedira turned the tables in the second 45 minutes as Germany started the year with a win. Although Germany's second goal should have been ruled out for offside, they had arguably done enough to celebrate victory in the French capital.

Substitute Marco Verratti spared Italy from a sixth consecutive friendly defeat by restricting Netherlands to a 1-1 draw with his last-gasp goal at the Amsterdam ArenA.

Cesare Prandelli's Azzurri offered precious little in attack before the break, leaving Gianluigi Buffon to single-handedly keep a dynamic Holland side at bay, with only Jeremain Lens breaking the Juventus goalkeeper's resolve.

Italy steadily rallied in the second half, thanks to the introduction of Pablo Osvaldo, Alberto Gilardino and Verratti, with the latter two combining to produce a late equaliser.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.