International roundup: Ronaldo secures late win for Portugal

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International roundup: Ronaldo secures late win for Portugal
International roundup: Ronaldo secures late win for Portugal

ZURICH — Cristiano Ronaldo scored with two stoppage-time headers and lifted Portugal to a stunning 2-1 win over Mohamed Salah-inspired Egypt in a friendly between World Cup-bound teams Friday.

Salah seemed to have won the game with a 56th-minute shot worthy of his fast-rising star status from the edge of the Portugal penalty area.

But one superstar was still on the field after Salah was substituted to a loud ovation in the 79th.

Ronaldo first rose unchallenged to score from Ricardo Quaresma’s left-flank cross in the second minute of time added on.

Two minutes later, Ronaldo powered a header low into the right corner of the goal from Quaresma’s free kick on the right.

The winning goal was confirmed 90 seconds later after a video review for a possible offside.

France 2, Colombia 3

SAINT-DENIS, France — France’s casual defending was exposed again as ruthless Colombia rallied from 2-0 down to win 3-2 in a World Cup warmup on Friday.

European Championship runner-up France scored twice inside 26 minutes through striker Olivier Giroud and wide midfielder Thomas Lemar. But poor concentration from goalkeeper Hugo Lloris let Colombia back in two minutes later, when Luis Muriel’s cross eluded him and went in.

Roared on by huge swathes of yellow-shirted fans at Stade de France, Colombia levelled in the 62nd when striker Radamel Falcao swept in James Rodriguez’s perfect cross from the right for his 29th international goal. A clumsy foul just inside the penalty area from Samuel Umtiti gifted Colombia a chance to win, and substitute Juan Quintero slammed the spot-kick past Lloris in the 85th.

Colombia’s fans, seemingly filling half the stadium, celebrated wildly at the final whistle. France coach Didier Deschamps, meanwhile, has plenty of thinking to do prior to Tuesday’s game away to World Cup host Russia in St. Petersburg.

It must have felt like deja vu for Deschamps. His side twice led away to World Cup winner Germany in November, only to draw 2-2.

Against a spirited and tough-tackling Colombia, France often gave the ball away too easily, particularly in midfield. Colombia caused panic with every attack, particularly down the flanks.

Early on, however, a rout looked on as slick France stretched Colombia with flowing moves.

Giroud’s 30th international goal moved him level with Jean-Pierre Papin and France great Just Fontaine, who holds the single-tournament scoring record for a World Cup with 13 goals in 1958.

Giroud got his in 70 games, Papin in 54 and Fontaine in an astonishing 21, although he played in a far more high-scoring era. Only four more players have scored more than them for France.

Germany 1, Spain 1

DUESSELDORF, Germany — Germany and Spain drew 1-1 in a World Cup warm-up on Friday, underlining their status as tournament favourites with high quality performances.

Valencia forward Rodrigo Moreno got Spain off to a perfect start thanks to a perfectly weighted pass from Andres Iniesta, but Thomas Mueller set another highlight in a game of many when he equalized from distance ten minutes before the break.

Both former World Cup champions extended their world-leading unbeaten records, 2014 winner Germany stretching its run to 22 games, while the 2010 champion is now 17 games without defeat.

Germany coach Joachim Loew named arguably his strongest possible lineup with captain Sami Khedira partnering Real Madrid’s Toni Kroos in midfield.

Regular captain Manuel Neuer is still recovering from the foot injury that has kept him out since September. Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen played in his place.

Spain’s Julen Lopetegui surprised many by starting Moreno in place of the more experienced Diego Costa. But Moreno has 13 league goals this season, with four in his last three appearances.

The Valencia forward needed only six minutes to open the scoring off Iniesta’s brilliant pass behind the German defence.

The impressive Isco beat Jonas Hector to the ball and sent in a low cross for David Silva before Timo Werner went close in response for Germany.

Most of the highlights were coming from Spanish players before Mueller provided one of his own with the equalizer. Receiving the ball in a central position well outside the penalty area, Mueller looked up and let fly from a standing position inside the top left corner.

Mueller then played Julian Draxler in, but Spain captain Sergio Ramos closed the door on the Paris Saint-Germain midfielder. Ramos was making his 150th appearance.

David de Gea produced a brilliant save to deny Draxler after the break, ten minutes before Ter Stegen blocked Isco from point-blank and De Gea stretched to save from Ilkay Gundogan at the other end.

Mats Hummels hit the crossbar from a well-worked Kroos free kick, but chances became scarcer as substitutions took hold.

Spain’s players wore black armbands in tribute to former goalkeeper Santiago Canizares’ five-year-old son, who died earlier Friday.

Germany next plays Brazil in Berlin, while Spain hosts Argentina in Madrid on Tuesday.

Netherlands 0, England 1

AMSTERDAM — Jesse Lingard scored his first international goal as England beat the Netherlands 1-0 Friday in a friendly that proved Gareth Southgate’s team can win without striker Harry Kane.

Lingard opened his England account in his ninth international, firing low into the corner past the despairing dive of Jeroen Zoet in the 59th minute after a cross from the left had rebounded to him off a Dutch defender.

It was a deserved victory for England, which looked quicker and more dangerous than the Dutch going forward, even without injured captain Kane, and solid at the back.

The match at the Amsterdam Arena was a World Cup tune-up for England, while it marked the start of a rebuilding process for new Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman, who took over the reins after the Dutch failed to qualify for the tournament in Russia.

While the Netherlands was largely impotent in front of goal, Southgate showed his squad’s strength when he was able to replace Lingard, Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford midway through the second half with Dele Alli, Danny Welbeck and Jamie Vardy.

England plays Italy on Tuesday at Wembley in its last friendly before Southgate names his World Cup squad.

Argentina 2, Italy 0

MANCHESTER, England — Without a slightly injured Lionel Messi, Ever Banega and Manuel Lanzini provided late goals for Argentina in a 2-0 win over Italy in a pre-World Cup friendly on Friday.

Messi was left on the bench due to a minor muscular problem, with Paris Saint-Germain’s Giovani Lo Celso getting the start instead at the centre of Argentina’s attack.

In the 75th, Banega scored from the edge of the area in between three defenders after Italy’s Jorginho gave up possession near midfield.

Ten minutes later, Lanzini blasted a shot over two defenders into the top corner, past an outstretched Gianluigi Buffon.

Manuel Lanzini scored the 2nd goal for #Argentina in their 2-0 win over #Italy, bending an excellent strike into the top corner after a sweeping counterattack. #Golazo #ARGITA pic.twitter.com/IVYiyxzmUi

— Jason Foster (@JogaBonito_USA) March 23, 2018

Until he was taken off, Angel Di Maria was Argentina’s most influential player. The PSG midfielder provided an inspired through ball for Gonzalo Higuain before the break that resulted in a difficult save from Buffon.

Italy didn’t threaten until early in the second half, when Ciro Immobile took advantage of a defensive error to roll across for Lorenzo Insigne, who blasted over the bar with only goalkeeper Willy Caballero to beat.

Insigne again came close then Caballero stopped an effort from Immobile before Argentina took control.

It was Italy’s first match since failing to qualify for the World Cup and the debut of interim coach Luigi Di Biagio.

While 20-year-olds Federico Chiesa and Patrick Cutrone made their national team debuts, much of Di Biagio’s lineup consisted of veterans held over from the qualifying campaign.

During the singing of the national anthems, each member of Italy’s squad wore the No. 13 shirt of defender Davide Astori, who was found dead in his hotel room earlier this month after a suspected cardiac arrest before Fiorentina, his club, was to play Udinese.

Italy also wore black armbands and a moment of silence was observed in Astori’s memory before kickoff.

Argentina plays next at Spain on Tuesday, while Italy visits England at Wembley Stadium in London.

Russia 0, Brazil 3

MOSCOW — Brazil cruised to a 3-0 win at World Cup host Russia on Friday without the injured Neymar.

In freezing temperatures at Moscow’s vast Luzhniki arena, the Brazilians worked hard to break down Russia’s deep defence before three goals in 13 minutes early in the second half.

Russian goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev parried Thiago Silva’s 53rd-minute shot into the path of Miranda, who scored from close range.

Philippe Coutinho made it 2-0 from the penalty spot nine minutes later, and Paulinho added Brazil’s third in the 66th with a header off Willian’s cross.

Less than three months before the World Cup opens at Luzhniki, the defeat highlighted Russia’s vulnerability at the back. Injuries to two central defenders this year forced coach Stanislav Cherchesov to field a makeshift five-man back line which was often able to do little more than stay deep and defend in numbers.

Up front, the Russians missed the injured Alexander Kokorin — who is unlikely to return for the World Cup — but still managed to create chances against a sometimes-shaky Brazilian defence.

An excellent chance went to waste late on when Anton Miranchuk hit the bar before his fellow substitute Anton Zabolotny missed an open goal on the rebound.

Alexander Samedov and Miranchuk’s brother, Alexei, both failed to score from good positions in the first half.

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