Germany thrash Italy, Belgium sink Portugal
Germany rebounded from Saturday’s defeat to England in emphatic fashion by thrashing Italy 4-1 on Tuesday, their first win over the Azzurri since 1995.
Thomas Muller assisted on both of Germany’s first goals, first as Toni Kroos gave the Germans the lead in the 24th minute and then with a chipped pass for Mario Gotze to head in.
The rout was on in the 59th minute when Julian Draxler raced in on goal and fed across for Jonas Hector to score Germany’s third, and Mesut Ozil added a fourth from the penalty spot in the 75th minute after Italy keeper Gigi Buffon tripped up Sebastian Rudy.
Italy found a consolation goal through substitute Stephan El Shaarawy, whose speculative 83rd-minute effort took a big deflection off Antonio Rudiger and looped into the net.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored as Portugal held on to defeat Belgium 2-1 in a game that was moved from Brussels after this month’s attacks.
Belgium keeper Thibaut Courtois made a number of early spectacular saves to keep the game level but Nani found the breakthrough with a curling shot in the 20th minute.
Ronaldo added a second on 40 minutes by heading in a cross from close range. That proved to be the difference despite Belgium getting a goal back in the 62nd minute when Jordan Lukaku sent in a cross for his brother Romelu to head home.
Belgium’s players wore special shirts to honour the victims of the attacks. During the pregame warm-up, the players’ shirts had a message on the front that read, “In memory of all victims, Brussels 22.03.2016.”
France were happy to be back home in the first game at the Stade de France since November’s attacks on Paris as they defeated Russia 4-2.
Leicester’s N’Golo Kante opened the scoring on nine minutes before Andre-Pierre Gignac doubled the lead.
Alexander Kokorin got a goal back for Russia after the break, but Dimitri Payet restored the two-goal advantage from a spectacular free kick.
Russia kept fighting and scored through Yuri Zhirkov in the 68th minute but Kingsley Coman sealed matters in the 76th with France’s fourth of the day.
Matt Ritchie scored the only goal of the game in the eighth minute as Scotland defeated Denmark 1-0.
The Bournemouth wide-man nipped in front of hesitant Danish skipper Daniel Agger in the eighth minute to confidently knock the ball past goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel to get the home side off to a positive start.
It ended 2-2 at the Aviva Stadium where the Republic of Ireland faced Slovakia.
The home team’s fortunes varied after Slovakia went a goal up in the 14th minute thanks to Miroslav Stoch. They were then awarded two penalties three minutes apart — both providing goals by Shane Long (21) and James McClean (24).
Slovakia equalised in the 45th minute when Ireland’s Paul McShane put the ball in the back of his own team’s net.
Iceland came back from a two-goal deficit, at the hands of Greece’s Konstantinos Fortounis’ 19th minute penalty and a subsequent goal in the 31st minute.
The visitors ended the goal 3-2 up thanks to Arnor Traustason (34) Sverrir Ingi Ingason (70) and a late winner by Kolbeinn Sigthorsson (82).
Manchester City’s Aleksandar Kolarov scored from a free kick in the 81st minute at the A. Le Coq Arena, to lead Serbia to a 1-0 victory over Estonia.
Norway beat fellow Scandinavians Finland 2-0 with goals from Stefan Johansen (83) and Jo Inge Berget (57).
Turkey beat home side Austria 2-1 with goals for the victors from Hakan Calhanoglu (43) and Arda Turan (56), while Austria’s goal came from Zlatko Junuzovic (22).
Edin Dzeko (14) and MIralem Pjanic (57) scored for Bosnia-Herzegovina in a 2-0 win over Switzerland.
Sweden hosted Czech Republic in an international friendly that ended a 1-1 draw, with both goals coming in the first half.
Sweden drew 1-1 against the Czech Republic with goals from Marcus Berg (14) for the home side and Matej Vydra (26) for the visitors.
Albania scored twice to beat home side Luxembourg 2-0 thanks to Armando Sadiku (63) and Sokol Cikalleshi (75).
Bulgaria’s winning streak continued against Macedonia, securing a 2-0 victory thanks to goals from Dimitar Rangelov (65) and Aleksandar Tonev (87).
Georgia drew 1-1 against Kazakhstan at the Dinamo Arena, with a goal from Tornike Okriashvili (38) for the home side and Azat Nurgaliev (36) for the visitors.
Latvia scored five goals — Janis Ikaunieks (46), Kaspars Dubra (53), Valerijs Sabala (57), Aleksejs Visnakovs (82), Janis Ikaunieks (84) on the scoresheet — for a very comfortable win against Gibraltar.
It was goalless at the Stadion Pod Goricom as Montenegro drew 0-0 with Belarus.
Report by soccernet.com