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Magic Messi gives Argentina 1-0 win over Brazil

Last updated on: November 18, 2010 09:40 IST

Magic Messi gives Argentina 1-0 win over Brazil

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Lionel Messi left it very late to once again show his matchwinning qualities with a superb goal two minutes into added time to give Argentina a 1-0 win over arch-rivals Brazil in friendly on Wednesday.

The Barcelona forward played a one-two in the middle of the pitch with substitute Ezequiel Lavezzi and raced through the Brazil defence cutting across to the left to send a low, diagonal, left-footed shot past the diving Victor into the bottom far corner.

"I really wanted to beat them and I was able to it. I'd never done it with the senior (Argentina) team," said Messi, who was playing against Brazil for the fourth time.

"It's an important win to keep improving and that's always easier when the results go your way," he told Argentine television in Doha.

The match at Qatar's Khalifa International stadium, in which Ronaldinho made a promising Brazil comeback, was a first victory for Argentina over their great South American rivals in six meetings since 2005.

Ronaldinho, overlooked for the 2010 World Cup finals, might have scored with a cheeky backheel in the first half but Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero was alert and saved.

Messi's goal was the first conceded by the new Brazil side coached by Mano Menezes, who had won their three previous friendlies.

Sergio Batista was making his debut as Argentina coach after friendly wins over Ireland and world champions Spain and a defeat away to Japan in an interim capacity.


Image: Argentina's Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring against Brazil during their international friendly soccer match at Khalifa stadium in Doha
Photographs: Reuters
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Improved Portugal humble world champions Spain 4-0

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Helder Postiga scored twice as a vastly improved Portugal side crushed world and European champions Spain 4-0 on Wednesday in a friendly international.

Portugal took a deserved lead just before halftime when Cristiano Ronaldo beat Sergio Busquets on the left and sent a powerful drive towards Iker Casillas which the Spain keeper could only block. The ball fell for Carlos Martins to fire in from near the spot.

The hosts added their second five minutes after the break when Joao Moutinho and Nani combined to feed striker Postiga, whose goalbound backheel was helped in by Sergio Ramos's desperate clearance.

Postiga netted again with a simple strike in the 68th minute and Hugo Almeida completed the rout deep into second-half injury time after Pepe led a counterattack.

Portugal were strong from the start and did not show any of the caution that marked their 1-0 defeat in the second round of the World Cup to the same opponents.

Nani had the first chance but his drive from outside the box flew wide of the right post. The winger also put Postiga through on 20 minutes only for his chip to be blocked by Casillas.

The game, held to promote the countries' joint bid to host the 2018 World Cup, was at times an intense affair, with Busquets and Ronaldo picking up yellow cards for challenges on each other.


Image: Portugal's Helder Postiga (R) celebrates his goal with his teammate Joao Moutinho during an international soccer friendly match against Spain at Luz stadium in Lisbon

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Huntelaar secures 1-0 win for Dutch over Turkey

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Klaas Jan Huntelaar continued his prolific form for Netherlands, scoring his ninth goal in the last five internationals to earn his team a 1-0 win over Turkey in a friendly on Wednesday.

Huntelaar settled the match seven minutes into the second half, netting a cross from Robin van Persie who had intercepted a sloppy pass from the Turkish defence.

It was Van Persie's first appearance in the Dutch team since the 2010 World Cup final defeat by Spain four months ago.

Turkey, coached by Dutchman Guus Hiddink, had their chances to level but Umut Bulut's powerful header was saved by Maarten Stekelenburg, while Kazim Kazim fired into the sidenetting with the goal at his mercy.

Dirk Kuyt (ankle) and Mark van Bommel (knee) were not fit enough to play, which forced Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk to include Jeremain Lens and Hedwiges Maduro.

The hosts took their time to take control of the match, threatening the Turkish goal five minutes before the interval when Wesley Sneijder fired a free kick into the wall before his follow up was saved by Volkan Demirel.


Image: Netherlands' Klaas-Jan Huntelaar celebrates after scoring a goal against Turkey during their international friendly soccer match against in Amsterdam

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Classy France hand England lesson in technique

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France gave England a lesson in technique when they beat them 2-1 at Wembley on Wednesday in a largely one-sided friendly between two of the World Cup's biggest under-achievers.

Karim Benzema and Mathieu Valbuena put the visitors 2-0 up before Peter Crouch volleyed a goal back in the 86th minute, seconds after coming on as a substitute.

That goal gave the scoreline an air of respectability that flattered an experimental England side, who only began to find their feet in the last 15 minutes after France coach Laurent Blanc made a series of substitutions.

France had done enough by then to inflict a first home defeat in Fabio Capello's 16th match at Wembley since he became England manager nearly three years ago.

The margin could have been even more emphatic but for Samir Nasri's late effort hitting the outside of goalkeeper Ben Foster's post.

France's victory was fully deserved after an outstanding first-half display of passing and movement which reduced England to virtual bystanders.

The home fans showed what they thought of their team's dire opening 45 minutes by jeering them off at the break.

Both France, eliminated in the group stages, and England, who went out in the second round, had World Cups to forget, but have shown signs of improvement in their Euro 2012 qualifiers.

This match was the last to experiment with new players before the qualifiers resume, and although Capello gave debuts to strikers Andy Carroll and Jay Bothroy and midfielder Jordan Henderson, none showed the guile or composure France possessed.


Image: France's Karim Benzema celebrates scoring against England during the international friendly soccer match at Wembley Stadium in London

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Balotelli abused as Italy draw with Romania

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Romania striker Ciprian Marica scored at both ends in a 1-1 draw with a disjointed Italy on Wednesday but racist boos and banners towards Mario Balotelli marred the friendly.

Marica grabbed a deserved opener after 34 minutes when he rifled in following a spot of pinball in the box but he also deflected in substitute Fabio Quagliarella's header following a corner eight minutes from time.

Juventus forward Quagliarella tried to claim the goal, having earlier come on for striker Balotelli who was subjected to racist booing from the crowd with the origins of the chants unclear.

However, Italian ultra fans did unveil a banner reading "no to a multi-ethnic national team".

"I am disappointed and angry, we give lots of speeches and then these things happen," Italy coach Cesare Prandelli told Rai television.

"But the lad must know that everyone has affection for him. I would like to see some sort of positive gesture towards him, maybe someone needs to give him a hug."

The Azzurri's last Euro 2012 qualifier at home to Serbia was abandoned after six minutes last month when right-wing away fans rioted but Italy have long struggled with their own "ultra" supporters with Romania having sporadic problems too.

Manchester City's Balotelli, Italy-born and of Ghanaian descent, was subjected to racist abuse from Juventus fans in particular while playing for Inter Milan as a teenager.


Image: Italy's Mario Balotelli (L) and Romania's Gabriel Tamas fight for the ball during their friendly soccer match in Klagenfurt

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