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You are here: Football FIFA World Cup International Friendlies Saturday Wrap: The Dutch rampage, Azzurri falter again

International Friendlies Saturday Wrap: The Dutch rampage, Azzurri falter again

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arjen_robben.jpgA host of friendlies took place last night with World Champions Italy in action along with plenty of South Africa bound teams including the Netherlands, Serbia, Cameroon and Algeria in action. The World Cup is just a few days away and performances in these warm up games are apt indicators of what teams need to be doing to in order to prepare for the World Cup finals beginning on the 11th of June.

The Netherlands annihilated the Hungarians in a warm up game in Amsterdam last night by putting 6 goals past them. Ironically it was Hungary who took the lead with 6 minutes on the clock via Balazs Dzsudzsak. The Dutch equalized through Robin van Persie in the 22nd minute but the rest as they say is history as the Oranje ran riot in the 2nd half. Arjen Robben's introduction at half time by Bert van Marwijk proved to be catalyst to a brilliant attacking display in the latter half. Wesley Sneijder, Mark van Bommel, Eljero Elia added a goal each in the second period while Robben contributed with a brace as the Dutch went on to win 6 - 1. They next take on Denmark in their opening group phase encounter in South Africa on the 14th of June. There was a slight injury scare for Robben at the end of the game, and one hopes he isn't the latest to be hit by the injury curse.

Hosts South Africa continued their rich vein of form by picking up a 1 - 0 victory against former European Champions Denmark in Johannesburg last night. A goal from Katlego Mphela, who seems to be central to all of the Bafana Bafana success, with 15 minutes left on the clock sealed the victory for the team. They return to the same venue on the 11th to play the inaugural game of the World Cup against Mexico while the Danes take on the aforementioned Dutch.

United States took on Australia in a warm up game last night in Johannesburg and the CONCACAF giants came out on top as they defeated the Socceroos 3 - 1 on the night. A brace from Edson Buddle and an injury time goal from Herclez Gomez sealed what was an important confidence booster for the Americans prior to their World Cup opener against England. Tim Cahill scored Australia's sole goal, which proved to be of little importance as the Americans were on fire on the night. The Aussies take on Germany on the 13th of June in their campaign opener.

Slovakia took on Costa Rica in what was to be a completely one sided affair with the World Cup finalists winning a comfortable 3 - 0 at home. A goal from Robert Vittek coupled with an own goal from Douglas Sequeira and a penalty from Stanislav Sestak led to a comfortable victory for the team who have the Italy, New Zealand and Paraguay in their group. Their opening encounter comes against the All Whites on the 15th of June.

Honduras traveled to Austria to take on a Romania side that had lost all of their last 3 games. But the CONCACAF team were humbled by their opponents as they lost 3 - 0 to them thanks to goals from Daniel Niculae, George Florescu and Mirel Radoi. Honduras haven't won a game since January and will be feeling the jitters going into the World Cup where they will take on Chile in their opening encounter.

Serbia hosted fellow World Cup finalists Cameroon in Partizan for a warm up game last night. The game was probably the most exciting encounter of the night with the score board flashing a 4 - 3 score line at full time. The African nation led twice thanks to Pierre Webo's first half goals but Serbia hit back taking a 4 - 2 thanks to goals from Milos Krasic, Dejan Stankovic, Nenad Milijas and Marko Pantelic. Cameroon scored another goal with more than 20 minutes on the clock to give us a nervy final period in the game, but the Serbs held on, winning 4 - 3.

When Gokhan Inler's 10th minute goal was cancelled out by Fabio Quagiarella 4 minutes later, one hoped and most probably predicted a goal fest between the World Champions Italy and the co-hosts of Euro 2008 Switzerland, but it wasn't to be. The two teams played out a 1 - 1 draw in Geneva last night which could easily be called another disappointing result for the ageing Azzurri who entered this game just after a harrowing defeat to Mexico. Marcello Lippi had 3 strikers up front in the final minutes of the game but they too failed to break open the game with a winner. Italians next take on Paraguay in what will be the first game of their title defence.

Algeria edged out UAE 1-0 in a World Cup warm up match in Saturday in Stadium Playmobil, Germany. French-born Wolfsburg midfielder, Karim Ziani scored the lone goal for the Desert Foxes in the 51st minute from the penalty spot. Algeria faces Slovenia in their first match at the World Cup on 13th June in the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane. They lie in Group C along with England and USA.

Substitute striker Quincy Owusu-Abeyie scored the lone goal for Ghana, helping them defeat Latvia in a World Cup warm up match on Saturday at the Stadium MK in southern England. Coach Milovan Rajevac made eight changes to the team that lost to the Dutch 4-1 in their previous friendly, including giving a full national team debut to Portsmouth midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng. In a frustrating match for the Black Stars who were constantly failing to convert their chances, the introduction of Quincy Owusu-Abeyie, gave a much needed boost to their fortunes. In the 88th minute, he found the back of the net through a powerful drive from the edge of the box giving Latvia goalkeeper, Andris Vanins no chance whatsoever. Ghana play the first game of their World Cup campaign against Serbia on 13th June in Pretoria and lie in Group D along with Germany and Australia.


Netherlands 6 - 1 Hungary
South Africa 1 - 0 Denmark
United States 3 - 1 Australia
Ghana 1 - 0 Latvia
Slovakia 3 - 0 Costa Rica
Algeria 1 - 0 UAE
Romania 3 - 0 Honduras
Serbia 4 - 3 Cameroon
Switzerland 1 - 1 Italy

Click here for the FIFA World Cup Schedule

File Photograph Copyright: Ryu Voelkel

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