Spain down Italy
MADRID, AFP - Pedro Rodriguez's goal was enough to give World Cup champions Spain a 1-0 win over Italy in their final game before coach Vicente del Bosque names his squad to defend their title. Spain will play two more friendlies — against Bolivia and El Salvador.
France too good
PARIS, AFP - France proved too strong for the Netherlands in Paris yesterday as first-half goals from Karim Benzema and Blaise Matuidi sealed a 2-0 friendly win. Benzema volleyed home the opener just after the half-hour mark and Matuidi added another three minutes before the interval.
Neymar on song
SOWETO, AFP - Neymar scored a hat-trick as Brazil ended a run of narrow victories over South Africa by cruising to a 5-0 triumph at Soccer City stadium in Soweto yesterday. Brazil also introduced new faces as coach Luiz Felipe Scolari gave first starts to defender Rafinha and midfielder Fernandinho.
BUCHAREST, AFP - Argentina didn't do their tag as World Cup contenders much good yesterday when they laboured to a 0-0 draw against Romania in a friendly that also saw Lionel Messi struggle with illness. Argentina was hindered by a clearly under-the-weather Messi, who played the whole match despite being sick.
STUTTGART, AFP - Germany have been booed off after failing to impress in a fortunate 1-0 win against World Cup finalists Chile as the South Americans dominated their hosts in yesterday's friendly. The enterprising Chileans showed why they finished third in the South American qualifying group for the World Cup.