x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

International friendies round-up: Scotland defeat Australia, USA finally beat Mexico

France and Uruguay recorded their fourth consecutive draw while a rampant Brazil defeated Sweden 3-0 in a busy night of international football friendies.

Scotland's Jordan Rhodes celebrates his goal against Australia at Easter Road
Scotland's Jordan Rhodes celebrates his goal against Australia at Easter Road

Scotland came from a goal behind to beat Australia 3-1 in their friendly match at Easter Road to give themselves a boost ahead of the 2014 World Cup qualifiers which begin next month.

Former Al Nasr player Mark Bresciano opened the scoring in the 17th minute with a thunderous volley from distance, before Jordan Rhodes scored his first Scotland goal in his first start in the 28th minute with a diving header from a Danny Fox cross.

Australia substitute Jason Davidson put through his own goal with a header from a Fox cross in the 63rd minute, five minutes after replacing David Carney to make his debut, before Scotland substitute Ross McCormack, who had replaced Rhodes, stretched the home side's lead in the 76th minute with a drive from the edge of the box.

Martin Paterson's 84th-minute penalty earned Northern Ireland an entertaining 3-3 draw in a see-saw friendly encounter against Finland at Windsor Park.

Northern Ireland were 2-0 ahead early on, with Shane Ferguson driving home a deflected pass from Rangers' Dean Shiels, followed by a Kyle Lafferty shot being bundled over the line, but two goals in as many minutes from Tim Sparv and Teemu Pukki, followed by an unstoppable second-half free kick from Perparim Hetemaj, left them needing Paterson's late intervention.

New coach Didier Deschamps said he would not allow dissent from France's fans to intrude upon his memories of his first match in charge of the national team, after their 0-0 draw with Uruguay on Wednesday.

It was the fourth consecutive match between the countries to finish goalless, although France twice struck the frame of the goal in their first match since  their quarter-final exit at Euro 2012.

Uruguay's conservatism allowed France to dominate possession, but aside from a 14th-minute header from Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa that visiting goalkeeper Fernando Muslera touched onto the post, France were initially kept at arm's length.

However, with Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani rested after the Olympics, Uruguay also lacked bite in attack, and the small pocket of away fans had to wait until the 43rd minute to see Diego Forlan drive a shot wide from 20 yards.

Half-time substitute Etienne Capoue quickly created France's clearest opening, his sidefooted centre from the right met by a back-post volley from Mathieu Valbuena that forced Muslera into a sprawling save.

France almost took the lead on the hour, but Karim Benzema's sweet volley from Patrice Evra's lofted pass cannoned back off the right-hand post and bounced out of play for a throw-in.

Substitute Bafetimbi Gomis came closest for France in the game's final quarter, first testing Muslera with a low drive and then fluffing his lines from close range in injury time.

Second-half replacement Alexandre Pato helped Brazil to a convincing 3-0 victory over Sweden with a quick-fire brace in the final ten minutes.

Brazil coach Mano Menezes picked a team based around the one that lost 2-1 to Mexico in the football final at the recently-finished London Olympics, bolstered by the inclusion of Dani Alves, David Luiz, Paulinho and Ramires.

Leandro Damiao, golden boot at the Olympics, duly opened the scoring for the visiting South American giants in the 32nd minute, directing a powerful header past Sweden captain and goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson.

Damiao was replaced by AC Milan's Pato in the 76th minute and made an immediate nuisance of himself among a flagging home defence.

A lucky ricochet off his head from a tentative Hulk shot fell to Dani Alves out on the right, and the Barcelona defender played it square for Pato to head home with the keeper nowhere to be seen.

Just a minute later, Pontus Werbloom was yellow carded for hacking Pato down in the penalty area.

Pato himself stepped up and drove home the penalty to see out a thoroughly deserved win.

Michael Orozco Fiscal scored in the 80th minute and goalkeeper Tim Howard played brilliantly as the USA upset Mexico 1-0 in a friendly, giving the Americans their first-ever win on Mexican soil.

Brek Shea went down the left flank and around Severo Meza to start the play that led to the goal. Shea, back with the national team after being dropped for six months, crossed to Terrence Boyd. He made a quick back-heel pass to Orozco Fiscal.

Fiscal kicked the ball past goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa for his first international goal. Orozco Fiscal plays for San Luis in Mexico.

The USA had been 0-23-1 against El Tri in 75 years of games at Mexico, including 0-19-1 in Mexico City. Mexico has outscored the US 81-14 overall in Mexico City.

USA coach Jurgen Klinsmann hailed the "huge" upset.

"It is huge for all American fans and it is historic," he said.

Germany had goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler sent off after half an hour as they crashed to a 3-1 friendly defeat to Argentina in Frankfurt.

Zieler was dismissed for a foul on Jose Sosa and, although replacement Marc ter Stegen saved Lionel Messi's resulting penalty, the visitors did not take long to seize the lead.

Sami Khedira put through an own goal in first-half injury time to set Argentina on their way and further second-half goals from Messi and Angel di Maria sealed the win before Benedikt Howedes' late consolation.

Holland continued their poor form heading out of a disappointing Euro 2012 as they fell 4-2 at neighbours Belgium.

Luciano Narsingh and Klaas Jan Huntelaar had cancelled out Christian Benteke's early opener for the home side, but further goals from Dries Mertens, Romelu Lukaku and Jan Vertonghen gave the Belgians an excellent win.

Two goals in four minutes before the break set Spain on course for a 2-1 win over Puerto Rico.

New Arsenal signing Santi Cazorla fired in the first from the edge of the area, and ex-Gunners captain Cesc Fabregas got the second moments later on the stroke of half-time.

Marc Cintron pulled one back for the hosts in the 65th minute.

Nelson Oliveira and Cristiano Ronaldo got the goals as Portugal beat 10-man Panama 2-0 at the Estádio do Algarve.

Oliveira beat two men before lashing the ball into the top corner on the half-hour mark and, after Gabriel Gomez was sent off early in the second half for a clash with Joao Moutinho, Ronaldo turned to fire home moments later.

Croatia were stunned 4-2 by Switzerland in Split, with Mario Gavranovic's double helping the Swiss to victory, while Russia were held 1-1 in Moscow by the Ivory Coast, Alan Dzagoev's opener cancelled out late by Mark Gradel.