HomeSportSoccerEngland edge Brazil as Spain, Germany win

England edge Brazil as Spain, Germany win

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LONDON — Luiz Felipe Scolari got an indication of the work ahead of him to turn Brazil into football World Cup winners when his second stint in charge began with a 2-1 defeat by England at Wembley on Wednesday.

Reuters

Brazil were sunk by Frank Lampard’s winner on the hour which gave England a first victory over the South Americans since 1990.

In other high-profile international friendlies, world and European champions Spain beat Uruguay 3-1 with Pedro scoring twice in defensive kingpin Carles Puyol’s 100th international appearance.

Germany earned a first victory over France in 26 years with a 2-1 win in Paris, a stoppage-time goal from substitute Marco Verratti rescued a 1-1 draw for Italy against Netherlands and Argentina continued their impressive form under coach Alejandro Sabella with a 3-2 win over Sweden in Stockholm. Shaggy-haired Spain defender Puyol was joined in reaching the 100-cap milestone by England defender Ashley Cole and Croatia goalkeeper Stipe Pletikosa.

Brazil hope to satisfy their expectant fans hungry for a first world title since 2002 when they host the World Cup in 2014, but only showed glimpses of their potential on a chilly night in London.

The recalled Ronaldinho had a penalty saved by Joe Hart before Wayne Rooney fired England ahead on 27 minutes. Fred’s fine finish soon after halftime levelled matters before Lampard curled a fine winner beyond Julio Cesar.

“I’m not disappointed, there’s no reason to say it was bad . . . we have seven, eight, nine players who have just started their season, England are in full swing,” said Scolari, the man known as Big Phil who was re-appointed in November.

In a record-equalling 68th match as coach for Vicente del Bosque, Spain proved too strong for South American champions Uruguay in an occasionally tetchy friendly in Qatar.

Forward Pedro continued his hot streak, scoring twice at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha to take his tally to nine in Spain’s last six games.

Cesc Fabregas struck first for Spain, his swerving shot helped into the net by keeper Fernando Muslera, before Cristian Rodriguez side-footed past Victor Valdes to equalise.

Pedro fired a low angled shot past Muslera to make it 2-1 on 51 minutes and sealed the game by finishing a Fabregas cross 16 minutes from time.

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