England edge Danes, France beat Brazil

England overcame a stuttering start to edge out Denmark 2-1 in Copenhagen on Wednesday with Aston Villa pair Darren Bent and Ashley Young cancelling out an early effort from Liverpool’s Daniel Agger.

Young scored his first goal for his country to give Fabio Capello’s men a fillip ahead of their Euro 2012 qualifier against Wales next month.

“I am happy with the result and the performance of some players,” Capello told ITV afterwards, after England registered a win despite the absence of such experienced stars as Steven Gerrard and new Liverpool teammate Andy Carroll, who made his debut in last autumn’s loss to France but who is currently injured.

Capello praised Arsenal teenager Jack Wilshere, who was substituted at half-time following an encouraging showing.

“Wilshere in the first half played with confidence and it was an interesting debut,” Capello said.

In another of a whole raft of friendlies across Europe, France thanked a second-half goal from Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema as Laurent Blanc’s men saw off Brazil 1-0 at the Stade de France in the two countries’ first meeting since the 1998 World Cup final at the same Stade de France venue, which the French won 3-0.

Brazil put themselves under pressure after midfielder Hernanes was red-carded five minutes before the break for placing his studs in Benzema’s chest.

Humiliating flop
Blanc, determined to bring the French back to the forefront of the European game after their humiliating flop, marked by a player strike, during last summer’s World Cup, praised his side for showing the talent in Les Bleus’ revamped squad since he took over last July.

“Playing against Brazil is to play against the yardstick of world football — even if they are down to 10 men. So we are very satisfied with the score and with the whole team and the group,” Blanc told broadcaster TF1.

Benzema, still striving to show his true worth with Real after a difficult first season in Spain last year, told reporters: “I am really pleased with way we played — we turned in a good showing.”

Elsewhere, Germany failed to break their 15-year winless run against Italy as visiting striker Giuseppe Rossi came off the bench to score a late equaliser and seal a 1-1 draw in Dortmund, cancelling out Miroslav Klose’s first-half goal for Joachim Loew’s side.

The Bayern Munich forward’s strike was his 59th on his 106th appearance as he draws closer to Gerd Mueller’s all-time Germany record of 68 goals.

Holland scored a 3-1 win over Austria in Eindhoven with Wesley Sneijder, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Dirk Kuyt from the penalty spot hitting the Dutch goals.

The win was achieved without several regulars, including Nigel de Jong, Rafael van der Vaart, Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben.

Argentina saw off Portugal 2-1 in Geneva with Lionel Messi netting a late penalty winner after Christiano Ronaldo had looked like saving a draw for the Portuguese. Ronaldo’s club mate, Angel Di Maria, had netted the Argentine opener. — Sapa-AFP

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