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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Friday, November 16, 2012
Sports

France conquer Italy

Zlatan Ibrahimovic lit up a night of friendlies most club coaches had castigated as an unnecessary intrusion into their domestic campaigns as the Swedish star scored four times to give his side a 4-2 win over England on Wednesday.

There was also further evidence France's 1998 World Cup winning captain Didier Deschamps was having a dynamic effect on the present French team as they followed up their impressive 1-1 draw against world and European champions Spain in a World Cup qualifier last month with a 2-1 win over Euro 2012 finalists Italy in Parma.

Elsewhere two Euro 2012 semifinalists Germany and Portugal had to settle for draws - the Germans drawing 0-0 with arch-rivals the Netherlands in Amsterdam and the Portuguese, playing without the absent Cristiano Ronaldo, held 2-2 by Gabon.

Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni too won't be feeling too comfortable as his side slumped to a 1-0 home defeat by Greece - their second successive home reverse following the 6-1 humiliation by Germany in a World Cup qualifier last month.

Scotland are looking for a new manager and while they gained a welcome win in caretaker manager Billy Stark's first game in charge since Craig Levein was relieved of his duties, a 2-1 away win over minnows Luxembourg won't have his paymasters rushing to sign him up on a permanent basis.

Ibrahimovic at his very best is unstoppable and he decided that the inauguration of the new national stadium, the Friends Arena, was a suitably grand occasion for him to produce a masterclass and in doing so inflict England manager Roy Hodgson's first defeat over 90 minutes in 12 games.

Ibrahimovic, who rose to fourth in the all-time Swedish scoring list, saved his most spectacular goal for last, an outrageous long-range bicycle kick in injury time that drew a standing ovation from the Sweden dug-out.

France - whom Deschamps took over as coach after his fellow World Cup winning team-mate Laurent Blanc stepped down after they went out in the last eight of Euro 2012 - may have beaten a far from full strength Italy side but it left their coach a very happy man.

"The result is important isn't it? We have just recently drawn with Spain and here we have beaten the Euro 2012 finalists. That is quite something.

"I am proud both of the players mental attitude and the spirit they showed."

His Italy counterpart Cesare Prandelli was far from disheartened at what was the side's fifth successive friendly defeat.

"I'd rather lose this match tonight and see the team making some progress than walk away with a win and see nothing," he said.

The Germans took consolation out of their drab draw with the Dutch for not having conceded any goals, having come into the game after a 4-4 draw at home to the Swedes in their World Cup qualifier last month.

"For me, this game was positive," said German coach Joachim Loew.

"We had a changed team, with many regulars missing, but we kept our shape and discipline, that was important after the last game against Sweden.

RESULTS
Panama 1 (Gomez 87-pen) Spain 5 (Pedro 16, 43, Villa 29, Ramos 82, Susaeta 84)
Poland 1 (Obraniak 64) Uruguay 3 (Glik 22-og, Cavani 34, Suarez 66)
Republic of Ireland 0 Greece 1 (Holebas 29)
Albania 0 Cameroon 0
Italy 1 (El Shaarawy 35) France 2 (Valbuena 37, Gomis 67)
Gabon 2 (Mandinda 33-pen, Pocko 69-pen) Portugal 2 (Pizzi 34-pen, Almeida 59)
Sweden 4 (Ibrahimovic 20, 78, 85, 90+1) England 2 (Welbeck 35, Caulker 39)
Netherlands 0 Germany 0
Austria 0 Ivory Coast 3 (Ya Konan 44, Drogba 61, L Traore 76)
Luxembourg 1 (Gerson 47) Scotland 2 (Rhodes 11, 24)
Serbia 3 (Markovic 21, Djordjevic 47, Djuricic 59) Chile 1 (Henriquez 87)
Romania 2 (Maxim 32, Torje 67-pen) Belgium 1 (Benteke 23)
Turkey 1 (Erding 69) Denmark 1 (Bendtner 65)
Liechtenstein 0 Malta 1 (Caruana 38)
Tunisia 1 (Dhaouadi 59) Switzerland 2 (Derdiyok 40, Shaqiri 90+6)
Algeria 0 Bosnia Herzegovina 1 (Svraka 90+2)
Cyprus 0 Finland 3 (Pukki 14, Hetemaj 28-pen, Kolehmainen 86)
Czech Republic 3 (Lafata 3, 6, Dockal 72) Slovakia 0
Bulgaria 0 Ukraine 1 (Kucher 34)
Russia 2 (Smolov 9, Shirokov 84-pen) United States 2 (Bradley 76, Diskerud 90+2)
Armenia 4 (Manucharyan 7, Mkrtchan 50, Mkhitaryan 56, Ozbilis 72) Lithuania 2

(Rimkevicius 66, 83-pen)

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