Thursday, 30 May 2013

Lampard earns England draw with Ireland, Podolski scores after nine seconds as Germany beat Ecuador...Benteke strikes twice as Belgium outclass US

Golden cap: Ashley Cole was honoured before kick-off for passing 100 appearances for England

Wayne Rooney was provided with the chance to let his football do the talking, picked for his first start since April, and partnered in-form Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge. Ashley Cole was given the honour of leading the team out to celebrate the 100th cap he picked up against Brazil in February.

Butterflies: Joe Hart follows Cole out of the tunnel, with Robbie Keane leading out the Irish

The match itself began at walking pace, with both sides feeling the effects of gruelling domestic campaigns and taking time to reacquaint themselves with their respective countrymen. England struggled to control the ball, while Ireland – through Long – looked especially dangerous on the break.

Shane Long

Can't hear you: Long celebrates the opening goal with his team-mates

It was the diminutive frontman who opened the scoring for the away side. Darting in front of Glen Johnson, Long glanced Seamus Coleman's pin-point cross beyond the reach of Joe Hart and into the top corner of the net.
England's Frank Lampard

Well played: Wayne Rooney, Theo Walcott and Michael Carrick congratulate Lampard on his goal

England began to show a little more intent after going behind and it soon paid dividends. Sturridge broke down the left flank and when Sean St Ledger failed to clear the 23-year-old's cross, Lampard was on hand to cutely poke the ball past Forde from close range.

England's Frank Lampard

England saved their best chances until late, as Ireland tired. With six minutes to go, Oxlade-Chamberlain was through one on one, only for goalkeeper David Forde to save, and Walcott suffered similar frustration on the right.

Mutual respect: Hodgson shakes Cole's hand as he comes to the bench, watched by Gary Neville

In the end it was a case of new day, same problems for England as they once again faltered against competitive opposition. Devoid of creativity and unable to exert their authority on the match, Hodgson has a lot of work to do before World Cup 2014 qualification resumes.


Germany's Lars Bender

The game had barely started when Germany took the lead. Some slack defending from Gabriel Achilier gave Podolski the chance to pounce and the Arsenal striker drilled home the opener after just nine seconds.

Ecuador had started slowly and before they had a chance to settle themselves, Joachim Low's side had doubled their advantage. Sidney Sam, making his international debut, slipped a ball into the path of Bender, who side-footed a second past Maximo Banguera.

It was fast becoming one of Germany's most impressive friendly performances in recent memory and barring a Per Mertesacker slip under pressure from Jefferson Montero, the South Americans had no answer to their European counterparts.

Germany's Lukas Podolski

And, sure enough, it was soon three. Max Kruse cut the ball back into the path of Podolski, who duly slammed home his second of the match.

It was all too easy for Germany and just before the 25-minute mark, they had a four-goal advantage, with a prolonged period of possession resulting in Roman Neustadter squaring the ball to Bender, who drilled home his second from distance.

Germany's Lukas Podolski

With the match effectively won during its opening quarter, Germany took their foot off the gas and Ecuador soon were able to showcase the form which has seen them rise to 10th in the Fifa rankings.
Valencia then stung Adler's palms with a ferocious effort from distance as half-time approached but went one better seconds later, driving an effort into the back of the net from the edge of the box.

Ecuador v Germany - International Friendly

The South Americans got the goal their second-half efforts deserved, with Adler palming Ayovi's free kick into the side of the net late on but Germany were able to hang on for the win.

Germany will play the second game of their tour against Juergen Klinsmann's United States in Washington on Sunday.


Belgium's Christian Benteke celebrates a goal with team-mate Steven Defour (Reuters)

The game was a warm-up for both sides ahead of vital World Cup qualifiers, with Belgium facing Serbia in Brussels on June 7 while Juergen Klinsmann's US side have three qualifiers next month for the 2014 finals in Brazil.

Belgium grabbed the lead in the sixth minute when US keeper Tim Howard dived at the feet of Romelu Lukaku but the ball fell to Kevin Mirallas who coolly chipped over his Everton team-mate and into the net.

The US drew level 17 minutes later when a Brad Davis cross from a short corner was headed back across the penalty area and defender Geoff Cameron headed in from close range.

The dangerous Lukaku then had an effort ruled out for offside and forced Howard into a fine diving save as the teams went in level at the break.

Romelu Lukaku Kevin Mirallas Belgium

But it was all Belgium in the second half.

Kevin De Bruyne took advantage of some careless defending from Omar Gonzalez and slipped the ball to Benteke for a simple finish in the 56th before Marouane Fellaini powered in a header to make it 3-1 after the US failed to properly clear a corner.

Benteke added his second and Belgium's fourth when he ran on to a Steven Defour pass and beat the advancing substitute keeper Brad Guzan.

The US were able to make the scoreline more respectable 10 minutes from the end when Toby Alderweireld was harshly ruled to have handled an Eddie Johnson cross and captain Clint Dempsey converted the penalty.

The US play Germany in Washington on Sunday in a friendly to celebrate the centenary of the US Soccer Federation, before World Cup qualifiers in June against Jamaica, Panama and Honduras.

Belgium lead Europe's Group A on goal difference over Croatia on 16 points, while the US are third on four points in the tightly contested six-team final round of CONCACAF qualifying.


  1. 4get shitty engaland, Itunu lets concentrate on our potential pair of podolski benteke.. We go kill anybodi

  2. Riddle: we av 3 lions buh they cant bite.. who are they?

  3. pls gimme Benteke alread sigh*.. #COYG