Thursday, February 7, 2013

International Friendlies in review.

What an exciting week it was for international soccer! We saw some instant classics played and the emergence of new stars.

Netherlands v Italy

                                                         Jeremain Lens celebrates his goal versus Italy.

In probably the most boring of the big match-ups this weekend, the Netherlands took on Italy in what looked to be a promising game. However, this was not the case as the game ended in a 1-1 tie. The Oranje took the lead in the 33rd minute through a Jeremain Lens goal. After that, the action subsided for a little while as neither team could really break the others defense down. It wasn't until the 91st minute when there would be another score, this time by the Italians. Marco Verratti equalized for Italy who were on the brink of a loss.

Sweden vs Argentina

                    Two of the worlds top strikers failed to score Wednesday as Argentina beat Sweden.

In the highest scoring top match-up of the week, Sweden and Argentina faced off at Nya Ullevi Stadium. Within the first 30 minutes the score was already 3-1 to Argentina, with Mikael Lustig netting an own goal, Jonas Olsson equalizing for Sweden, and Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain extending Argentinas lead by 2. The second half was much less entertaining, only producing 1 goal, but the game itself was highly entertaining.

France v Germany

                                        Germany's Sami Khedira celebrates his game winner against France.

In my personal favorite match of the day, the Germans traveled to Paris to take on France. For a very exciting game that was full of great attacking play from the start, it was relatively low scoring. Both teams had great opportunities in the first half but it was France who capitalized through a Valbuena goal at the end of the first half. Both teams came out strong again after the half, with Germany scoring an equalizer through Thomas Muller early in the second half. With both teams level again the game was wide open, until Mesut Ozil threaded a ball to Real Madrid teammate Sami Khedira that left Hugo Lloris with no chance to stop the game winner.

England v Brazil

                                      England's Jack Wilshere put in a Man of the Match performance against Brazil.

In the most anticipated game of the day, England hosted Brazil at Wembley Stadium. From the get-go the teams looked even, with Brazil's attack looking just a bit more menacing than England's. The deciding factor of the match was the excellent midfield play of the Three Lions. Jack Wilshere and Steven Gerrard combined for a deadly central midfield combo, with Gerrard playing more of a holding role while Wilshere was free to run forward and distribute the ball menacingly. Early in the first half though, it was Brazil with the first real chance of the game having won a penalty. Legendary Brazilian international, Ronaldinho, stepped up to the spot, but his attempt was saved by England keeper Joe Hart and the rebound shot also saved. It was not long until England took control. With Wilshere pulling the strings, he found Theo Walcott bombing in from the right wing. Walcott's shot was saved by Julio Cesar, but the rebound fell to Wayne Rooney who had an open net to smash the ball into. Coming out of the half England looked in control, until a Chris Smalling error deep in his own half gave Brazil the equalizer through a Fred goal. It wasn't long, however, until England put the game away. A rebounded ball fell to substitute Frank Lampard who curled his shot off the post and into the net to put the game away for England 2-1.

What was your favorite match of the week? How did your favorite team do? How did your favorite player do? Leave comments below.

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