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27 Mar 2008 08:46
The Netherlands staged a remarkable comeback to win 4-3 in Austria while European champions Greece beat Portugal 2-1 as all 16 Euro 2008 finalists contested friendlies on Wednesday.
England midfielder David Beckham will not have happy memories of his 100th international appearance after Fabio Capello’s side, who did not qualify for the June tournament, suffered a 1-0 defeat to France in Paris.
The Dutch were 3-0 down against Euro 2008 co-hosts Austria after 35 minutes but two late goals from strikers Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink and Klaas Jan Huntelaar gave them the win after they had clawed their way back into the match.
Andreas Ivanschitz and a Sebastian Proedl brace had fired the Austrians ahead before Huntelaar and John Heitinga replied for the Dutch to make the score 3-2.
Vennegoor of Hesselink grabbed an 82nd-minute equaliser and Huntelaar completed the comeback with his sixth goal in 11 international appearances.
England, looking for their first win over France in Paris since 1949, were fortunate not to concede more goals after a solid first-half performance.
Bayern midfielder Franck Ribery steered in a 32nd-minute penalty after David James had brought down Nicolas Anelka and contributed to Beckham’s 38th-minute booking after the Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder pulled his shirt.
It was the first defeat as England manager for Capello after the 2-1 win over Switzerland in a friendly on his debut last month.
Greece, who beat Euro 2004 hosts Portugal in the event’s opening match and the final, upset their more heralded rivals again thanks to a Georgos Karagounis brace.
The former Benfica midfielder rifled in two superb free kicks in Dusseldorf, Germany, before Nuno Gomes pulled one back for an under-strength Portuguese side.
Germany, who won their last international honour at Euro 1996 in England, strolled to a 4-0 win over neighbours and Euro 2008 co-hosts Switzerland.
Mario Gomes scored two goals for Germany in Basel either side of Miroslav Klose’s opener and an 88th-minute effort by Lukas Podolski as all three strikers found the back of the net for the visitors.
At the Emirates Stadium in London, AC Milan teenager Alexandre Pato scored on his debut for Brazil to give the five-time world champions a 1-0 win over Sweden.
The 18-year-old striker dispossessed keeper Rami Shabaan near the touchline and curled in a superb lob into an empty net midway through the second half.
In Glasgow, Portsmouth midfielder Niko Kranjcar gave Croatia an early lead against Scotland when he lashed in a brilliant shot on the turn before Kenny Miller’s deflected effort on the half-hour mark secured a 1-1 draw in an absorbing encounter.
Elsewhere, the United States recorded a 3-0 win away win over Poland, Romania thrashed fellow Euro 2008 finalists Russia by the same score and Turkey twice came from behind to earn a 2-2 draw at Belarus.
Arsenal’s 20-year-old striker, Nicklas Bendtner, scored his seventh international goal in Denmark’s 1-1 draw with the Czech Republic.—Reuters
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