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US Upsets Italy, Messi Destroys Swiss, Wins for Spain, Holland

01 Mar 2012

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Portugal's Joao Moutinho (L) and Poland's Eugen Polanski challenge for the ball during their friendly soccer match in Warsaw, Poland


AP

With 100 days until this year’s European Championship, Italy lost to the United States for the first time in 11 games over 78 years, while Spain, France and the Netherlands prepared with impressive wins.

Clint Dempsey scored in the 55th minute at Genoa, and the Americans held on for a 1-0 victory Wednesday night that gave them a rare win over a world power, reports The Associated Press.

Roberto Soldado had a hat trick to lead defending European champion Spain to a 5-0 win over Venezuela in Malaga. France extended its unbeaten run to 18 matches as Oliver Giroud and Florent Malouda scored in a 2-1 victory over Germany in Bremen.

The Netherlands won 3-2 at England when Arjen Robben scored his second goal of the game in stoppage time. That gave Stuart Pearce a loss in his first game as England’s interim coach.

Lionel Messi scored his first international hat trick, leading Argentina over Switzerland 3-1.

Saudi Arabia was eliminated from Asian qualifying for the 2014 World Cup with a 4-2 loss at Australia, while South Korea, Lebanon, Oman and Qatar advanced to the final round.

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Few coaches place too much importance on the result of exhibitions played under little pressure compared to the tournament in Poland and Ukraine that starts June 8.

Germany’s Joachim Loew among those to say beforehand he was more concerned with tweaking details and spending time with his players.

But France can take heart from a win that came without several key players. Les Bleus showed greater imagination in a match that failed to reach the intensity of previous meetings between the two rivals and Giroud, leading scorer in the French league, put the visitors ahead in the 21st minute with a simple finish.

Malouda scored in the 69th, seven minutes after entering, and Germany’s Cacau scored in injury time.

France, which had to endure a playoff to qualify for the Euros, has not been beaten since a 1-0 loss to Belarus on Sept. 3, 2010.

With career leading scorer, David Villa sidelined by a broken leg and Chelsea forward, Fernando Torres dropped from Spain’s roster for the first time in five years, Valencia striker, Soldado marked his first national team appearance in four years with three goals in the final exhibition before coach Vicente del Bosque picks his tournament squad.

Cesc Fabregas set up goals for Andres Iniesta and David Silva before halftime, and Soldado added three more. Spain has won all four of its matches against Venezuela.

England looked to have salvaged an improbable draw against the Netherlands when Gary Cahill scored in the 85th minute and Ashley Young in the 90th. But Arjen Robben scored his second goal of the match in stoppage time.

Ireland salvaged a 1-1 draw against fellow qualifier the Czech Republic when Simon Cox scored with four minutes remaining. Milan Baros had put the Czechs ahead in the 50th.

Poland and Portugal tied 0-0 in the first match at National Stadium, the venue for the opening game at the European Championship. Ukraine won 3-2 at Israel.

Sweden won 3-1 at Croatia, Greece drew 1-1 with Belgium and Russia won 2-0 at Denmark.

Wales lost 1-0 to Costa Rica in Cardiff, a game the hosts hoped to win in honor of late coach Gary Speed.

Tags: World, Sports, US Upsets Italy

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