England, Argentina on Top, Spain Grab Late Lifeline

Manila Bulletin, August 12, 2010 | Go to article overview

England, Argentina on Top, Spain Grab Late Lifeline


PARIS, Aug 11, 2010 (AFP) - Embattled England and Argentina began their post-World Cup recoveries with morale-boosting wins on Wednesday, while world champions Spain needed a last-minute goal to draw in Mexico.

England, playing for the first time since their 4-1 defeat to Germany in the World Cup second round, came back to defeat Hungary 2-1 with captain Steven Gerrard scoring two fine goals.

Argentina, beaten by the Germans in the quarter-finals in South Africa, shrugged off the controversy surrounding the sacking of Diego Maradona to beat Ireland 1-0.

Newly-crowned world champions Spain drew 1-1 in front of 100,000 fans in Mexico City while Laurent Blanc's reign as France coach began with a 2-1 defeat to Norway, as he fielded a side purged of its disgraced World Cup rebels.

World Cup runners-up Holland put out a second-string side in Donetsk and drew 1-1 with Euro 2012 co-hosts Ukraine while Germany, semi-finalists in South Africa, also used a back-up team and drew 2-2 in Denmark.

At Wembley, Gerrard helped Fabio Capello avoid more embarrassment after Phil Jagielka had put through his own goal to give Hungary a shock lead, although there were doubts over whether or not the ball had crossed the line.

Liverpool star Gerrard scored twice in four minutes to give some respite to Capello on a day when the Italian called time on David Beckham's international career.

"I am really happy with the new players. It was a game we had to play with pressure. People spoke about the fans booing and there was big pressure but the new players played with confidence," said Capello.

Argentina, with Lionel Messi receiving warm applause, began the post-Maradona era with a hard fought victory over Ireland at a refurbished Lansdowne Road stadium in Dublin.

Angel Di Maria's first half strike consigned Giovanni Trapattoni's men to defeat in the first international game in the renamed Aviva Stadium. …

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