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Soccer PIX: Neto, Paulinho score on Portugal debuts

November 12, 2020 10:18 IST
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Images from football friendlies played on Wednesday.

Portugal's Paulinho celebrates scoring their second goal with Nelson Semedo during their international friendly against Andorra at Estadio da Luz stadium in Lisbon

IMAGE: Portugal's Paulinho celebrates scoring their second goal with Nelson Semedo during their international friendly against Andorra at Estadio da Luz stadium in Lisbon. Photograph: Rafael Marchante/Reuters

Pedro Neto and Paulinho both scored on their Portugal debuts as the European champions unsurprisingly routed Andorra 7-0 in a friendly on Wednesday while Cristiano Ronaldo was also on target.

Neto, 20, rifled in the opening goal after eight minutes while Paulinho, making his debut at the age of 28, got in front of his marker to score the second just before the half hour.

 

Renato Sanches added the third in the 56th minute and Braga forward Paulinho headed in his second from Mario Rui's cross five minutes later.

Emili Garcia turned the ball into his own net before Ronaldo, who was rested for the first half, headed his 102nd international goal with five minutes left and Joao Felix completed the rout.

Ronaldo's goal left the 35-year-old only seven short of former Iran forward Ali Daei's alltime record of 109 international goals.

France’s winning run ends with 2-0 defeat against Finland

Finland's Robert Taylor in action during their international Friendly against France at Stade de France, Saint-Denis, France

IMAGE: Finland's Robert Taylor in action during their international Friendly against France at Stade de France, Saint-Denis, France. Photograph: Reuters

France geared up for their upcoming Nations League games with a 2-0 home defeat against Finland as their 12-match unbeaten streak came to an abrupt end on Wednesday.

Marcus Forss and Onni Valakari scored in the first half to give Finland their first win against Les Bleus, having lost all their previous eight encounters going into the game at the Stade de France.

World champions France dominated possession and had the first clear chance when Marcus Thuram's header crashed onto the crossbar, but Didier Deschamps' side, without the injured Kylian Mbappe, lacked inspiration throughout.

Les Bleus, whose last defeat was in June 2019 when they lost 2-0 away to Turkey in a Euro 2020 qualifier, face Portugal away on Saturday and Sweden at home on Tuesday in League A, Group 3 of the Nations League.

Forss put the visitors ahead against the run of play, beating keeper Steve Mandanda from close range with Finland's first attempt of the game in the 28th minute.

Valakari doubled the tally three minutes later with a superb 20-metre curled shot.

Deschamps replaced Olivier Giroud with Anthony Martial in the 57th minute and the hugely disappointing Paul Pogba with Ngolo Kante, but the changes had little effect.

Finland have now won four of their last five matches.

Van de Beek strike earns Netherlands draw with Spain

Netherlands’ Donny van de Beek celebrates scoring their first goal against Spain at Johan Cruijff Arena, Amsterdam

IMAGE: Netherlands’ Donny van de Beek celebrates scoring their first goal against Spain at Johan Cruijff Arena, Amsterdam. Photograph: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Pool via Reuters

Netherlands' Manchester City defender Nathan Ake was forced off early in the game with a muscle injury while Spain's Jose Gaya also came off in the first half, after a clash of heads with Hans Hateboer.

Canales struck his first goal for Spain to open the scoring in the 19th minute, latching on to a pass from Alvaro Morata and firing low into the net.

Manchester United midfielder Van de Beek levelled early in the second half, beating Spain's debutant keeper Unai Simon at the near post.

Luis Enrique's side had dominated the first half of the match between the 2010 World Cup finalists but the Netherlands bossed the second and missed two clear chances to win the match.

Simon thwarted captain Memphis Depay from close range with a low dive but the forward should really have put the chance away, while Luuk de Jong spurned a late foray into the area, losing control of the ball and allowing Spain's defenders to get back.

"We had some good spells but we were a bit unorganised in the second half and they piled lots of players forward and we struggled to cope with that," said Spain coach Luis Enrique.

"Overall I got good sensations from the game."

Luis Enrique fielded an experimental side ahead of upcoming UEFA Nations League matches against Switzerland and Germany, leaving captain Sergio Ramos and fellow World Cup winner Sergio Busquets out of his lineup, although Ramos came off the bench late on.

"Our plan was to have the players fresh for our two competitive games and I'm more than satisfied with what I saw," he added.

"We don't have many games but today allowed me to see that all our players can compete when called upon."

Batshuayi double helps Belgium beat Swiss 2-1

Michy Batshuayi scored twice in the second half as top-ranked Belgium came from behind to beat Switzerland 2-1 in a friendly on Wednesday, a confidence boosting win ahead of their crucial Nations League clash against England on Sunday.

Batshuayi took his tally to 13 goals in his last 13 international appearances with the double, which maintained Belgium’s four-year unbeaten run at home.

Admir Mehmedi put the Swiss ahead early before Batshuayi equalised from a suspiciously offside position early in the second half as both countries fielded makeshift teams with an eye on their Nations League games over the next week.

After 12 minutes, Belgian defender Sebastiaan Bornauw’s attempt at a clearing header served only to set up Mehmedi to hammer the ball home.

Four minutes into the second half, Belgium equalised after a Swiss pass was snapped up by Youri Tielemans, who quickly played it into Batshuayi who turned and finished with aplomb.

He had looked offside when the pass was played to him but with no VAR, the goal stood.

The Swiss created more efforts on goal and might have restored their lead had it not been for the goalkeeping of Simon Mignolet and a timely block from Bornauw, making up for his earlier error.

Yet Belgium claimed the win when Dodi Lukebakio set up a chance from the left, which was played back into the centre by debutant Thomas Foket for Batshuayi, who was given space to thump the ball home from right in front of goal.

The match was a first for Belgium at Leuven’s Den Dreef stadium, where they will host England on Sunday and Denmark next Wednesday. The match was moved from Brussels because of a curfew imposed as part of the COVID-19 lockdown in Belgium.

Grifo scores first goals as makeshift Italy beat Estonia

Vincenzo Grifo scored his first two international goals at the age of 27 to help a makeshift Italy side, missing coach Roberto Mancini due to a COVID-19 infection, to a 4-0 friendly win over Estonia on Wednesday.

Assistant coach Alberico Evani took charge of the side while Mancini passed instructions from his home in Rome where the 55-year-old is self-isolating after testing positive for COVID-19.

Italy, who extended their unbeaten run to 20 games, had called up a 41-man squad for the match and Nations Leagues games against Poland and Bosnia, using the game to give a run-out to less experienced players.

Alessandro Bastoni was given his debut in the centre of defence while Grifo, born in Germany to Italian parents and who has spent his entire career in the Bundesliga, was handed his fourth cap.

"It was a game where we had everything to lose but we did what we needed to do," Evani said. "We tried to play, but we learned a few things and there is an extraordinary human quality in this squad."

The first goal came in style as Grifo scored with a half-volley from 25 metres which flew in off the foot of the post after 14 minutes.

Federico Bernardeschi, struggling for form at Juventus, cut inside and scored the second with a low shot inside the near post 13 minutes later.

Grifo converted a penalty in the 75th minute after a foul on Roberto Gagliardini before substitute Riccardo Orsolini won and converted another penalty in the 86th minute to make it two goals in as many international appearances.

Makeshift Croatia hold Turkey to 3-3 friendly draw

Croatia's Mario Pasalic celebrates with teammates on scoring their second goal against Turkey at Vodafone Park, Istanbul

IMAGE: Croatia's Mario Pasalic celebrates with teammates on scoring their second goal against Turkey at Vodafone Park, Istanbul. Photograph: Murad Sezer/Reuters

A makeshift Croatia side missing several regular starters held Turkey to a rollercoaster 3-3 draw in an entertaining friendly on Wednesday ahead of top-tier Nations League games against Sweden and Portugal.

With one eye on Saturday's visit to Sweden and Tuesday's home game against the Portuguese in Group 3, Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic picked several fringe players who impressed in the Turkish capital.

Cenk Tosun fired Turkey ahead with a 23rd-minute penalty before Croatia's third-choice striker Ante Budimir took advantage of some sloppy defending and levelled with a dinked finish from 13 metres in the 32nd.

Deniz Turuc put the home side back in front shortly before halftime, beating reserve goalkeeper Simon Sluga with a superb shot from a tight angle into the far corner after racing away from Domagoj Vida down the left flank.

World Cup runners-up Croatia roared back shortly after halftime with two goals in the space of three minutes, with Mario Pasalic grabbing a 53rd-minute equaliser from eight metres at the far post after Josip Brekalo's low cross fizzed across the face of goal.

Marauding wing-back Brekalo then got on the scoresheet, popping up to meet a Marko Rog cross from the left with a glancing header at the near post.

A frantic five-minute spell which produced a flurry of goals was completed when Cengiz Under hauled Turkey level in the 58th, capping a flowing move with a rasping shot from the edge of the area after he was teed up by Tosun.

Turkey, who are competing in Group 3 of the second tier of the Nations League, are at home to Russia on Sunday before they visit Hungary next Wednesday.

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