Not everyone is happy about the friendly matches hurting the continuity of the European season, but national teams need to prepare for the World Cup, with Spain beating Italy and France impressing against the Netherlands standing at the front of the international break.
Brazil put on a very impressive show in South Africa with Neymar scoring a hat trick, while Cristiano Ronaldo scoring twice made him the highest scoring player in Portugal’s history, leading his team to a 5-1 win over Cameroon.
Spain 1 Italy 0: As expected from the Italy/Spain encounter, the Italians mostly defended, creating only three shots at goal compared to 25 by Spain, as the World Champions enjoyed 70% of possession while Diego Costa made his debut. A 63rd minute goal by Pedro decided the encounter.
France 2 Netherlands 0: An excellent match early on, slightly slow and boring in the second half after all the substitutions. France put on an impressive first half, with goals from Karim Benzema and Blaise Matuidi, both quite spectacular.
England 1 Denmark 0: A rough match for England who looked far from dangerous for most of the first 60 minutes, eventually winning thanks to a Daniel Sturridge goal from an Adam Lallana cross.
South Africa 0 Brazil 5: Neymar was the big star of the evening in Johannesburg, scoring a hat trick, getting help from Oscar and Fernandinho while the most memorable moment of the match was a little boy invading the pitch and getting rewarded for it.
Portugal 5 Cameroon 1: The match was tied after 45 minutes, but Portugal picked it up a notch in the second half, with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring the final goal to become the nation’s all-time leading scorer. He also opened the scoring, followed by goals from Raul Meireles, Fabio Coentrao and Edinho, while Vincent Aboubakar scored for Cameroon.
Germany 1 Chile 0: The visitors were actually the better and more dangerous looking team in Stuttgart, but an early Mario Goetze goal was enough for Germany to claim the victory.
Belgium 2 Ivory Coast 2: Belgium looked good for the first 55-60 minutes before making a few changes which allowed the Ivorians to get back into the match. Marouane Fellaini and Radja Nainggolan opened for the Belgium, Didier Drogba and Max-Alain Gradel scored for the Ivory Coast.
Austria 1 Uruguay 1: A slightly disappointing performance from Uruguay against a team that won’t appear in the world cup. Marc Janko opened the scoring in the 14th minute; Alvaro Pereira equalized in the second half.
Japan 4 New Zealand 2: A crushing start from Japan, scoring all their goals in the first 18 minutes through Shinji Okazaki (twice), Shinji Kagawa and Masato Morishige. Chris Woods scored later on twice for the Kiwis.
Colombia 1 Tunisia 1: We don’t usually see a red card in friendly matches but Colombia did finish it with 10 men. James Rodriguez scored the opening goal through the penalty spot in the 20th minute, and Wahbi Khazri equalized shortly after.
Australia 3 Ecuador 4: The first half is usually what matters in friendly matches. Australia scored the first three goals with Tim Cahill (twice) and Mile Jedinak getting on the scoresheet, while Fidel Martínez, Segundo Castillo, Enner Valencia and Edison Mendez turned things around.
Turkey 2 Sweden 1: Not the most of encouraging performances from Sweden against a team that won’t be playing in the World Cup. Mevlut Erding opened for Turkey before Ola Toivonen equalized. Olcan Adin scored the winner for the home side.
Russia 2 Armenia 0: Alexander Kokorin and Dmitriy Kombarov scored for Russia against an opponent that probably peaked during the qualifiers.
Ukraine 2 USA 0: A very bad performance from the Americans in Cyprus, with Andriy Yarmolenko and Marko Devic scoring.
Romania 0 Argentina 0: A disappointing and edge-missing display from Argentina despite the Messi-Aguero-Higuain front three.
Switzerland 2 Croatia 2: A very enjoyable match between two teams who’ll be in the World Cup; Ivica Olic scored twice for Croatia, and Josip Drmic scored twice for Switzerland.
Bosnia 0 Egypt 2: A concerning display for Bosnia heading into the World Cup, as Gedo and Mohamed Salah scored for the Egyptians.
Greece 0 South Korea 2: Once again the Greek attacking problems were showcased against a less than weak side, which was mostly their group in the qualifiers. Park Chu-Young and Heung Min-Son scored for the Koreans.
Montenegro 1 Ghana 0: Dejan Damjanovic scored from the penalty spot in the opening minute, but Ghana should be pleased with their performance, looking a lot better through the next 89 minutes.
Algeria 2 Slovenia 0: El Arbi Soudani and Saphir Taider scored the goals in an encouraging performance from a team that usually does very badly in World Cups.
Iran 1 Guinea 2: A terrible performance for Iran, as Constant and Ibrahima Traore scored in the first half, while Reza Ghoochannejhad could only score a consolation goal in the second half.