Italy embarrassed by Mexico as Fabregas returns for Spain win

Italy 1-2 Mexico

The World Cup holders Italy's unconvincing form ahead of the defence of their crown took a further nosedive last night when they slumped to a shock 2-1 defeat to Mexico in Brussels.

The world champions, whose previous match was a dour 0-0 draw with Cameroon in March, were undone by goals from Arsenal's Carlos Vela and Alberto Medina, before substitute Leonardo Bonucci pulled back a late consolation strike.

England were much criticised after labouring to a 3-1 victory over the Mexicans at Wembley 10 days ago, but that result now takes on a more positive complexion in light of the Italians' defeat.

The Azzurri started brightly, with Juventus forward Vincenzo Iaquinta heading against the bar in the third minute, but the Mexicans then took control of the tie. Tottenham Hotspur's Giovani Dos Santos was a constant danger and, in the 16th minute, found Vela unmarked in the Italian penalty area, his pass allowing the striker to score easily.

The Latin Americans always looked good value for their lead, and doubled it in the 83rd minute when veteran substitute Cuauhtemoc Blanco, who is set to play in his third World Cup finals, chipped over the Italian defence for Medina to settle the match.

The Bari defender Bonucci pulled one back in a goalmouth scramble three minutes from time, but it was not enough for Marcello Lippi's side. "We've been in the mountains [at an altitude training camp] for 10 days and we just came down," Lippi said afterwards.

"I know these players very well, I'm not sad at all. It's important to be in the right condition in 10 days or so."

Italy take on Switzerland in their final friendly tomorrow.

Spain 1-0 South Korea

Cesc Fabregas stepped up his comeback from injury by playing an hour of Spain's 1-0 victory over South Korea in Innsbruck. Jesus Navas struck a stunning winner as the European champions left it late to claim the win.

Five days after Fernando Llorente's injury-time effort earned them a 3-2 win over Saudi Arabia, Navas popped up four minutes from time to hit an unstoppable 25-yard effort into the top corner of the net.

That was Navas's first goal for his country and means Spain have now won 11 successive games. They had to work hard for the triumph, though, and it was not until the second-half introduction of some of their top players that they started to take a clear upper hand.

Coach Vicente del Bosque opted to start with a side made up largely of fringe players. Fabregas, playing for the first time after two months out, struck the woodwork in the 35th minute. The Arsenal captain, whose future is the subject of intense speculation with Barcelona keen on his services, had plenty of time to pick his spot from 18 yards but saw his curling shot clip the crossbar and go over.

He was given some playing time after resuming full training following a cracked fibula, but Liverpool striker Fernando Torres, who is recovering from knee surgery, was not risked.

Germany 3-1 Bosnia-Herzegovina

Midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger converted two penalties in four minutes to seal a 3-1 win for Germany over Bosnia in their last World Cup warm-up game. The hosts looked sluggish in the first half but substitutes Thomas Müller, Marko Marin and Cacau added pace after the interval as Germany struck three times in 27 minutes.

Cacau, who replaced the out-of-form striker Miroslav Klose and set up Philipp Lahm's equaliser, and Müller, who came on for midfielder Piotr Trochowski and won Germany's second penalty, staked strong claims for a starting spot for the opening game against Australia.

Defender Lahm, making his debut as Germany captain, helped give the Bosnians a 15th-minute lead when he tried to clear the ball but struck striker Edin Dzeko and watched the deflected shot sail over keeper Manuel Neuer.

The 26-year-old Lahm, who will become Germany's youngest World Cup captain after succeeding injured Michael Ballack, made amends early in the second half when he fired in the equaliser after being fed by Cacau.

Germany upped the pace and should have added another through Mesut Ozil, who rattled the crossbar seconds after the equaliser. Schweinsteiger then struck two identical penalties in the 73rd and 77th minutes to give his team a deserved win.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific