x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

International friendlies round-up: France stage comeback to beat Italy

Bafetimbi Gomis' second-half strike secures a 2-1 win for the French, while Argentina were held to a goalless draw against Argentina.

France's Bafetimbi Gomis celebrates his winning goal against Italy
France's Bafetimbi Gomis celebrates his winning goal against Italy

Substitute Bafetimbi Gomis struck a second-half winner as France came from behind to claim a 2-1 victory over Italy in tonight's international friendly in Parma.

In-form AC Milan forward Stephan El Shaarawi had given Italy a first-half lead but a brilliant effort from Mathieu Valbuena saw France draw level almost immediately and then Gomis put Les Bleus ahead four minutes after coming on as a 63rd-minute replacement.

The victory earned France their first triumph on Italian soil since 1994 and saw them claim another impressive result under new coach Didier Deschamps having last month held Spain to a 1-1 World Cup qualifying draw in Madrid.

Pedro scored twice as world and European champions Spain hammered Panama 5-1 at the Estadio Rommel Fernandez.

The 25-year-old opened the scoring in the 16th minute and added a third just before half-time in Panama City - with fellow

Barcelona forward David Villa doubling Spain's lead on the half hour - all three goals coming from close range.

Sergio Ramos fired in a brilliant fourth in the 82nd minute and Markel Susaeta completed the rout two minutes later.

The central American side did add a consolation when Gabriel Gomez smashed home from the penalty spot three minutes from time after Cesc Fabregas had fouled Nelson Barahona in the area.

Holland and Germany played out a low-key goalless draw in their friendly at the Amsterdam ArenA, with both sides missing a number of key players due to injury.

Mesut Ozil, Mario Gomez and Bastian Schweinsteiger were among the big names missing for Germany, who showed seven changes to the side that blew a four-goal lead to draw 4-4 against Sweden last month, while the Dutch were without injured duo Robin van Persie and Wesley Sneijder, with coach Louis van Gaal's experimental line-up including a debut for Kenneth Vermeer of Ajax in goal.

The result is unlikely to have made things much clearer for Van Gaal, who next takes his side into another friendly against Italy in early February, before resuming their World Cup qualifying campaign at home to Estonia.

Jordan Rhodes bagged a first-half brace as Scotland began life without Craig Levein by edging out Luxembourg 2-1, Lars Gerson's well-placed free-kick proving only to be a consolation for the hosts.

Billy Stark, Scotland's under-21 coach, took charge of the team for the match following the sacking of Levein, and was pleased to deliver a win following nine call-offs despite the uninspiring second half.

"We won and that's the most important thing," he said.

"When we approached the game we felt we needed to win the game. On the back of that you hope we would have a scintillating performance.

"We would concede it wasn't quite that but the first half we were comfortable and we created some chances."

Jose Holebas' lone strike ensured the Republic of Ireland ended 2012 with a 1-0 defeat as Greece triumphed at the Aviva Stadium.

Luis Suarez was on the scoresheet as Uruguay were 3-1 winners in Poland.

The in-form Liverpool striker scored his side's third goal in the 66th minute - two minutes after Ludovic Obraniak had narrowed the deficit.

Kamil Glik's own goal and a strike from Napoli striker Edinson Cavani had put the South American side two goals to the good before the break.

Nicklas Bendtner's 65th-minute penalty was cancelled out by Mevlut Erdinc four minutes later as Denmark and Turkey drew 1-1, while Alexandru Maxim and Gabriel Torje scored in either half to give Romania a 2-1 win over Belgium, who opened the scoring through Christian Benteke.

Armenia beat Lithuania 4-2, Serbia saw off 10-man Chile 3-1, while Finland cantered to a 3-0 victory in Cyprus.
Norway ran out 2-0 winners in Hungary, Belarus came from behind for a 2-1 triumph in Israel, Liechtenstein were edged out 1-0 by Malta and Iceland eased past Andorra 2-0.

Robert Cornthwaite scored a late winner on his return as Australia came from behind to beat South Korea 2-1 in their international friendly at Hwaseong.

Cornthwaite, who plays his club football for Chunnam Dragons in South Korea, scrambled the ball home from close range with three minutes left on the clock after Nikita Rukavytsya levelled for Australia in the first half following Lee Dong-Gook's early strike for the hosts.

Cornthwaite was a late replacement in Holger Osieck's injury-hit side and made his first appearance for the national team three years after his only previous cap.

The former Adelaide player was on hand to capitalise on poor defending by South Korea when he bundled the ball past goalkeeper Young-Kwang Kim when the hosts failed to clear a late corner in the 87th minute.

Lee put the home side in front when he volleyed home in the 11th minute from inside the penalty area before Rukavytsya equalised two minutes before the break.

Mix Diskerud's last-gasp strike helped the United States, who twice came from behind, claim a creditable 2-2 draw against Russia in Krasnodar.

Fedor Smolov put the hosts ahead in the ninth minute after capitalising on a mistake from Danny Williams to score from a narrow angle although Jurgen Klinsmann's men levelled with 14 minutes remaining as Michael Bradley finished with aplomb after being teed up by Juan Agudelo's header.

Russia thought they had claimed the bragging rights when Roman Shirokov scored from the spot after Clarence Goodson had challenged Artem Dzyuba in the area but Diskerud claimed an unlikely equaliser with a strike from just outside the area for his first international goal.

Saudi Arabia claimed a famous goalless draw against Argentina, who played a relatively full strength side with Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Angel Di Maria and Javier Mascherano amongst their number.

The South American side pushed strongly for a winner at the end but were made to pay for poor finishing from Aguero and Wigan striker Franco Di Santo, who was making his international debut.