-Belgium, Netherlands Win In Tuesday’s Big Friendly Games
Lars Stindl rescued a draw in stoppage time to extend Germany’s unbeaten run to 21 matches as the world champions twice came from behind to earn a 2-2 draw with France in Cologne.
Stindl, an 83rd-minute replacement for Emre Can ensured Joachim Low’s finished 2017 without tasting a single defeat, their last loss coming at the hands of France in the European Championship semi-finals last year.
That run looked like coming to an end when Alexandre Lacazette netted twice on Tuesday – the Arsenal striker profiting from Anthony Martial’s brilliant footwork for his first before Kylian Mbappe created his second.
In between the Arsenal striker’s brace Timo Werner levelled for the hosts as he broke the French offside trap to sweep home Mesut Ozil’s pass.
But a second goal looked too much for the hosts as the game entered stoppage time, however substitute Stindl had other ideas as he fired low past Steve Mandanda just 10 minutes after coming on.
Low will hope to see better defending when his side face Spain and Brazil before they begin their World Cup defence in Russia, but their battling spirit will give the coach plenty of encouragement. England followed up their stalemate against Germany with another impressive clean sheet as they held five-time world champions Brazil to a 0-0 draw at Wembley.
Gareth Southgate’s injury-hit squad showed their dedication to defending with a stoic display on home soil, leading to the first scoreless encounter between the nations in 40 years.
The always busy Neymar did his best to light up an otherwise dim spectacle but, despite dominating for long periods, Brazil struggled to cut open an England team that saw Joe Gomez impress as a centre-back in the new 3-5-2 system.
Southgate handed a debut to Gomez’s Liverpool team-mate Dominic Solanke off the bench in the second half, but a team minus Harry Kane barely threatened to cause an upset in the capital.
Romelu Lukaku became Belgium’s outright record scorer with the only goal in an uninspired 1-0 friendly win over Japan in Bruges.
The Manchester United striker had pulled level with Bernard Voorhoof and Paul Van Himst on 30 goals after his double in Friday’s pulsating 3-3 draw with Mexico.
And he took his tally to 31 Belgium strikes with 18 minutes remaining against Japan on Tuesday, heading in from almost on the line after a superb run and cross from Nacer Chadli.
Before his historic goal, it had been a frustrating night for the 24-year-old, who was comfortably shackled by a stubborn Japan defence.
Edinson Cavani scored his 40th international goal but it was not enough for Uruguay to avoid a late 2-1 defeat against Austria on Thursday.
Louis Schaub found the net with an 87th-minute free-kick to give the home side a third consecutive victory following a winning end to their unsuccessful World Cup qualification campaign.
Austria went ahead in just the fifth minute through Marcel Sabitzer, the RB Leipzig star firing into an empty net after Martin Silva smothered Guido Burgstaller’s initial effort.
But the Russia-bound visitors immediately replied as an unmarked Cavani nodded in from Jonathan Urretaviscaya cross.
And the match seemed destined for a draw with neither side capable of causing trouble after the restart.
That was until Schaub’s free-kick from wide on the right drifted untouched past a sea of bodies and inside the far post, putting an end to Uruguay’s five-match unbeaten run.
Spain showed rare signs of defensive frailty as they squandered a two-goal lead to slump to a thrilling 3-3 friendly draw with Fedor Smolov-inspired Russia on Tuesday, despite Sergio Ramos scoring twice from the penalty spot.
The home side found themselves trailing 2-0 just after the half-hour mark, as Spain appeared to pick up where they left off in their 5-0 hammering of Costa Rica, but Russia fought back and ultimately secured a commendable draw thanks to Smolov’s stunning second goal.
An entertainingly frantic first half saw plenty of attacking football and the opening goal took just nine minutes to arrive, as Jordi Alba – who broke the deadlock against Costa Rica on Saturday – headed in a Marco Asensio cross.
A Ramos penalty saw their lead doubled, though Russia halved the deficit a few minutes before the break – Smolov emphatically finishing a flowing move from the edge of the box.
Russia equalised early in the second half thanks to Aleksey Miranchuk, though poor defending quickly allowed Ramos the chance to bury a second penalty, which the captain did with aplomb.
Smolov brought Russia level again 20 minutes from time, though, sending a fierce long-range effort into the top-left corner to set up a tantalising finish that ultimately saw the teams end on level terms.
Chris Coleman’s landmark 50th match in charge of Wales ended dramatically as Armando Cooper’s strike in second-half stoppage time earned Panama a 1-1 draw in Cardiff.
Dick Advocaat enjoyed a successful farewell as Netherlands coach as a trio of second half goals secured a routine 3-0 victory in Romania on Tuesday.
Following the disappointment of falling short in World Cup qualification, Advocaat was given the chance to conclude his third stint in charge on a more positive note.
And the ‘Little General’ got his wish as last week’s 1-0 win in Scotland was followed by a polished performance in Bucharest.
The Oranje are searching for an attacking talisman to help replace the retired Arjen Robben and Memphis Dempay continued to press his case, opening the scoring in the 47th minute with his fifth goal in his last eight Netherlands appearances.
Ryan Babel is also back in the fold as a potential short-term solution and the Besiktas man soon doubled the advantage with his first international goal since May 2008.
Substitute Luuk de Jong rounded off the rout with just under 10 minutes remaining as the visitors ensured Advocaat’s successor will take charge of a team on a positive run having claimed five successive wins.ngl