• World Cup friendlies

Van Persie on target as Italy suffer major blow

ESPN staff
June 1, 2014
Robin van Persie will be the main man for the Dutch at the World Cup © Getty Images

Robin van Persie scored in the fifth minute as the Netherlands claimed a 1-0 win over Ghana in Rotterdam.

The Manchester United striker was set up by Wesley Sneijder as Louis van Gaal's side claimed victory in their penultimate friendly before the World Cup.

Italy were held to a 0-0 draw by Ireland in a World Cup warm-up match on Saturday that saw the Azzurri lose key midfielder Riccardo Montolivo to a broken leg which will rule him out of the tournament in Brazil.

Reading full-back Alex Pearce fouled Montolivo in the ninth minute and the AC Milan player immediately knew what was wrong. Montolivo could be seen saying ''it's broken'' as fellow players and medical staff hovered around him anxiously while he was still lying on the pitch.

Making matters worse, Montolivo's replacement Alberto Aquilani also left before halftime complaining of dizziness after knocking heads with a defender. Both Montolivo and Aquilani were brought to a local hospital for tests. In Aquilani's case, the tests showed he was not seriously injured.

Mexico were also dealt two injuries worries in their 3-1 win against Ecuador as Luis Montes left the stadium in an ambulance after scoring the opening goal with a suspected broken leg. Rafael Marquez also went to hospital after receiving a strong blow in the first half.

Marco Fabian, who replaced Montes, scored Mexico's second goal with the third coming through a Maximo Banguera own goal in the 76th minute, with Ecuador scoring a late consolation thanks to Jorge Guagua.

Portugal, without Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo, were held to a goalless draw by Greece in a re-run of the 2004 European Championship final, which was surprisingly won by the latter in Lisbon.

Elsewhere, Oleg Shatov's early goal was cancelled out as Russia drew 1-1 with Norway, while Algeria cruised to a 3-1 victory over Armenia and a pair of Ivan Perisic goals handed Croatia a 2-1 victory over Mali.

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