International round-up: Tevez consigns world champions to rare defeat
Wednesday 08 September 2010
Carlos Tevez laid on two goals and scored one as Argentina stunned the world champions Spain 4-1 in a friendly at the Monumental stadium in Buenos Aires last night.
The hosts, rebuilding after the departure of their controversial World Cup coach Diego Maradona, scored two early goals inside three minutes, Lionel Messi chipping brilliantly over the Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina from a through-ball by Tevez for the first. Gonzalo Higuain added the second after being put through by Tevez, justifying coach Sergio Batista's decision to field a three-man strike force.
Reina was at fault with the third just past the half-hour. He slipped going to kick a back pass by Alvaro Arbeloa and the busy Tevez was rewarded for a trademark chase as he beat the keeper to the ball to scoop it into the net.
Fernando Llorente pulled one back for Spain from Pedro's square ball into the box with six minutes remaining before Sergio Aguero headed a stoppage-time fourth for Argentina.
"Argentina played very well, we have to recognise that," said the Spain coach Vicente del Bosque,. "It's beneficial to the squad to know how to play the weak teams like Liechtenstein and also the big ones."
A delighted Batista said: "I think Argentina had a lot of merit in preventing [the crowd] from seeing the Spain we saw in the World Cup."
The crisis gripping Portugal, European Championship finalists six years ago and World Cup semi-finalists in 2006, deepened last night when they were beaten 1-0 in Norway. Without suspended manager Carlos Queiroz and the injured Cristiano Ronaldo, the Portuguese were undone by Erik Huseklepp's 21st-minute goal in Oslo.
Queiroz was suspended for six months last week for impeding a drugs test before the World Cup and is involved in an increasingly bitter dispute with the Portuguese Football Federation. Without the former Manchester United assistant manager, the side were held to a 4-4 draw by Cyprus in their opening Euro 2012 qualifier on Friday and were undone last night when a clearance from their goalkeeper Eduardo was blocked by Aston Villa's John Carew, presenting Huseklepp with an open goal.
France bounced back from Friday's 1-0 defeat to Belarus in Paris by bringing three points back from the tricky trip to Bosnia. The Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema and Chelsea's Florent Malouda scored the French goals late on in the second half in Sarajevo. In the 72nd minute Benzema scored with an angled, left-foot shot. Malouda then made it 2-0 six minutes later to secure new coach Laurent Blanc his first win.
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