Both Euro 2008 football co-hosts suffer defeats in friendlies

March 27th, 2008 - 12:06 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of David Beckham
Hamburg, March 27 (DPA) It was a bad night for Euro 2008 co-hosts Austria and Switzerland as both sides lost friendly internationals and shipped four goals each. Austria took a 3-0 lead against the Netherlands but still managed to lose 4-3 while Switzerland were completely outclassed by Germany, crashing 4-0 in Basle Wednesday.

Andreas Ivanschitz gave Austria the perfect start, putting them in front after just six minutes while further goals from Sebastian Proedl after 18 and 35 minutes seemed to have given Josef Hickersberger’s side an unassailable lead in Vienna.

But Klaas Jan Huntelaar pulled one back almost immediately for the Dutch before John Heitinga reduced the deficit to 3-2 midway through the second half.

Celtic striker Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink netted the equaliser in the 83rd minute before Huntelaar scored his second to make it 4-3 with just four minutes remaining.

It was a much more one-sided affair for the Swiss as goals by Miroslav Klose (23rd minute), Mario Gomez (61 and 67) and Lukas Podolski (88) gave Germany a convincing victory.

Romania comfortably beat fellow Euro 2008 finalists Russia 3-0. VfB Stuttgart’s Ciprian Marica opened the scoring for Romania in the 45th minute while a second-half brace from Daniel Niculae secured the victory against Guus Hiddink’s highly rated side.

In other action, Belarus twice led against Turkey but in the end had to settle for a 2-2 draw in Minsk. Vitali Kutuzov put Belarus in front on 34 minutes but Middlesbrough striker Tuncay Sanli equalised for Turkey three minutes later.

Viatcheslav Hleb restored Belarus’s lead in the 65th minute but Tumer Metin salvaged a draw for Turkey 20 minutes from time.

European champions Greece beat Portugal, the team they defeated in the Euro 2004 final, 2-1 in Dusseldorf thanks to a brace from Georgios Karagounis.

The striker netted his first after 34 minutes and made it 2-0 on the hour mark before Nuno Gomes pulled one back for Portugal 14 minutes from time.

David Beckham joined an elite group of players to win 100 caps for his country but ended up on the losing side as England were beaten 1- 0 by France in Paris.

World champions Italy suffered a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Spain with David Villa scoring the winner with a superb volley 13 minutes from time.

All-time leading Czech Repubic goal scorer Jan Koller scored his 52nd goal for his country to salvage a 1-1 draw against Denmark, cancelling out an earlier strike from Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner.

Bulgaria needed a late strike from Stanislav Genchev to secure a 2-1 over Finland while two early second-half goals from Andriy Shevchenko and Sergiy Nazarenko sealed a 2-0 win for Ukraine over Serbia. Estonia beat Canada by the same scoreline.

A Yossi Benayoun free kick gave Israel a 1-0 win over Chile in Tel Aviv while Arunas Klimavicius netted the only goal of the game as Lithuania defeated Azerbaijan 1-0.

Slovenia also managed a 1-0 victory over neighbours Hungary thanks to a goal from Mirnes Sisic on 58 minutes.

South Africa produced their best performance under World Cup winning coach Carlos Alberto Parreira to beat Paraguay 3-0 in a friendly played in Pretoria.

The 2010 World Cup hosts, who have failed to impress in recent friendly matches, dominated the game and won through goals by Surprise Moriri, Benni McCarthy and Siphiwe Tshabalala.

Alexandre Pato scored to give Brazil a 1-0 win over Sweden in a friendly rematch to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1958 World Cup final between the sides in Stockholm.

Malta hammered Liechtenstein 7-1, Poland lost 3-0 to the US, Wales beat Luxembourg 2-0, Latvia overcame Andorra 3-0, Iceland beat Slovakia 2-1 and Norway went down 3-1 to Montenegro.

Belgium lost 4-1 to Morocco, Northern Ireland stunned Georgia 4-1, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia played out a 2-2 draw while Scotland and Croatia played out a 1-1 draw.

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