2018 FIFA World Cup

FIFA Friendlies: Argentina fire late twice in a Messi-less match against Italy

[caption id="attachment_64551" align="aligncenter" width="580"]Coutinho scored the second goal for Brazil against Russia. Image Source: twitter Coutinho scored the second goal for Brazil against Russia. Image Source: twitter[/caption]

XtraTime Web Desk: There were worries before the match, that what would a Brazil team do against Russia, in an international friendly without Neymar Da Silva Santos Junior.

But Tite’s boys showed grit and composure to come out three nil victorious after a barren first half at the Olympic Stadium Luzhniki in Moscow.

A quick spell of play by the Selecao’s post the lemon break saw Brazil scoring thrice between the 53rd and 66th minute. Joao Miranda opened the scoring for the Samba nation before Barcelona star Philippe Coutinho made it 2-0 in the 62nd minute. The final icing on the cake was done by another Barcelona player, this time Paulinho making it 3-0 and that was enough to bring a smile on coach Tite’s face.

Neymar who injured his ankle while playing for French Giants Paris Saint-Germain is in Brazil and has recently started rehabilitation.

Tite should take pride from this win. The way the Brazilians played, especially the second half, Selecao fans can start dreaming big, less than 3 months from the FIFA World Cup.

Ever Banega and Manuel Lanzini ensured Lionel Messi's absence was not keenly felt as they hit the target in Argentina's 2-0 friendly win over Italy.

Messi, who has been struggling with a muscle problem, was not included and reduced to the role of spectator as Argentina dominated much of the encounter at the Etihad Stadium.

Italy's returning goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, who reversed his decision to retire from international football following the Azzurri's failure to qualify for the World Cup, was kept busy throughout as he won his 176th cap.

[caption id="attachment_64553" align="aligncenter" width="580"]Lingard Lingard hands a win to England. Image Source: twitter[/caption]

England win 1-0 against the Dutch, courtesy Lingard

Jesse Lingard's maiden international goal ruined Ronald Koeman's debut in charge of Netherlands as England recorded a 1-0 victory in Amsterdam.

Lingard's first-time strike from the edge of the box in the 59th minute secured England a morale-boosting result as they stepped up their World Cup preparations.

After back-to-back 0-0 draws with heavyweights Brazil and Germany last November, Gareth Southgate's side turned in a promising performance despite the absence of star striker Harry Kane through injury.

[caption id="attachment_64554" align="aligncenter" width="580"]Muller scored a stunner for Germany. Image Source: twitter Muller scored a stunner for Germany. Image Source: twitter[/caption]

German’s held on to a 1-1 draw by Spain

Germany and Spain played out an entertaining 1-1 draw in Dusseldorf as the two European giants build up to the World Cup.

With the tournament in Russia less than three months away, a match between the two previous world champions at the Esprit Arena always looked a blue-chip affair and the game mostly lived up to the billing.

Andres Iniesta gave a first-half masterclass before departing at the interval, the Barcelona captain setting up Rodrigo Moreno for an early opening goal with a superb through ball.

But Germany levelled before the break with a fine goal of their own, Thomas Muller picking out David de Gea's top-right corner from 25 yards.

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