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  • Argentina 2 Mexico 0: Funes Mori's heade...

    Argentina defeated Mexico 2-0 in Cordoba on Friday thanks to Ramiro Funes Mori's header and a late Isaac Brizuela own goal.   Mexico should have taken the lead in the second minute of the friendly as Raul Jimenez hit the bar with a diving header from Marco Fabian's cross. Less t...

    Argentina 2 Mexico 0: Funes Mori's header helps to sink El Tri

    Argentina defeated Mexico 2-0 in Cordoba on Friday thanks to Ramiro Funes Mori's header and a late Isaac Brizuela own goal.   Mexico should have taken the lead in the second minute of the friendly as Raul Jimenez hit the bar with a diving header from Marco Fabian's cross. Less than a minute later, Funes Mori's slip allowed Alan Pulido to play Fabian through on goal, but his tame shot was saved by Agustin Marchesin. After surviving those early scares, Argentina settled into the contest and slowly began to threaten through Paulo Dybala and Lautaro Martinez, although they remained vulnerable, with Leandro Parades' inch-perfect sliding tackle inside the area denying Jimenez on the counterattack. The pressure continued to grow, Guillermo Ochoa making a smart save to keep out Martinez's downward header from a Dybala free-kick in the 38th minute. And when the deadlock was eventually broken, it was another Dybala set-piece that did the damage, Funes Mori meeting his delivery from a free-kick unmarked to head home the opener.  Dybala sent a well-weighted chip narrowly over the bar in one of few chances of note during a disjointed second half, substitute Brizuela putting through his own net in the 83rd minute to prevent the lurking Mauro Icardi from opening his senior Argentina account.  What does it mean? Jury out on both coaches Lionel Scaloni can rest slightly easier, at least for now, after a mixed start to his reign as Argentina coach, having overseen a narrow loss to Brazil, a draw with Colombia and unremarkable wins over Guatemala and Iraq. Mexico continue to search for Juan Carlos Osorio's long-term replacement, interim boss Ricardo Ferretti having now orchestrated just one win over Costa Rica and four losses, to Uruguay, the United States, Chile and now Mexico. Funes Mori makes amends A careless early error having gone unpunished, Villarreal defender Funes Mori atoned for his sins just before half-time, shrugging off the ineffectual attentions of the Mexico defence to finish confidently from close range, leaving Ochoa stranded.     Dybala can't find his shooting boots  Dybala was by far Argentina's brightest spark before being withdrawn in the 72nd minute, the Juventus forward supplying numerous chances for team-mates and testing Ochoa himself with an eye-catching combination of chest control and a scissor-kick volley. But the 25-year-old is yet to score for his country, and the pressure will continue to mount on his slender shoulders during the continuing absence of Lionel Messi.  What's next? The teams will sign off on 2018 when they meet again in another friendly in Mendoza on Tuesday. 

  • Brazil 1 Uruguay 0: Neymar penalty settl...

    Neymar scored a controversial penalty as Brazil beat Uruguay 1-0 in a tightly fought friendly at Emirates Stadium. A resilient display from Uruguay's makeshift defence looked set to end Brazil's winning run, but Tite's side were handed a lifeline when referee Craig Pawson deemed...

    Brazil 1 Uruguay 0: Neymar penalty settles tight contest

    Neymar scored a controversial penalty as Brazil beat Uruguay 1-0 in a tightly fought friendly at Emirates Stadium. A resilient display from Uruguay's makeshift defence looked set to end Brazil's winning run, but Tite's side were handed a lifeline when referee Craig Pawson deemed that Diego Laxalt had fouled Danilo. Uruguay had enjoyed the better of the chances prior to the penalty incident, with Alisson having made a series of fine saves to deny Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani. But, despite a hint of handball from Danilo in the build up to the penalty incident and what looked to be an exaggerated fall from the defender, Uruguay's protestations fell on deaf ears as Neymar stepped up to secure Brazil's fifth straight win.  A slick team move resulted in Neymar tucking home in the 11th minute, only for the offside flag to cut Brazil's celebrations short. It was Neymar's former Barcelona team-mate Suarez that drew the first meaningful save from either goalkeeper, as Alisson reacted sharply to tip the striker's shot over. Suarez turned provider on the stroke of half-time, floating a wonderful cross into strike partner Edinson Cavani, but Alisson came to Brazil's rescue once more. Richarlison's introduction sparked Brazil and, although a last-ditch challenge from Miranda denied Suarez a certain goal at the other end, Tite's side had their winner in the 76th minute. Danilo looked to have handled as he barged his way into Uruguay's area, before going down easily after hanging out a leg to ensure contact with Laxalt – Neymar sending Martin Campana the wrong way from 12 yards, with Richarlison squandering a great opportunity to wrap up the win late on.   What does it mean? Uruguay's future looks bright At 22 and 19 respectively, Mathias Suarez and Bruno Mendez made some impact on their international debuts, more than holding their own against Neymar, Roberto Firmino and Douglas Costa, with Oscar Tabarez's unwavering belief in Uruguay's youngsters justified. Brazil, meanwhile, evidently missed the guile and craft of Philippe Coutinho, and it was only when Richarlison came on and added pace to the front line that Uruguay's defence looked troubled. Alisson shows his worth Brazil have two excellent goalkeepers to choose from, but Alisson more than proved his credentials as their number one, making two excellent saves to keep Suarez and Cavani – starting together for the first time since Uruguay's win over Portugal in the World Cup Round of 16 – at bay. Walace unable to stake his claim Casemiro's absence from the squad handed Walace an opportunity to demonstrate his qualities at the heart of Brazil's midfield, but he failed to exert his authority on proceedings. What's next? Brazil's global tour continues with a friendly against Cameroon in Milton Keynes on Tuesday, while Uruguay travel to Paris to face world champions France.

  • Netherlands 2 France 0: Wijnaldum & ...

    Georginio Wijnaldum and Memphis Depay were decisive as Netherlands beat France 2-0 to relegate Germany in the Nations League and give themselves a chance at reaching the Finals. Germany needed France to win to give them a realistic chance of escaping the drop, but Netherlands de...

    Netherlands 2 France 0: Wijnaldum & Depay decisive as Germany are relegated

    Georginio Wijnaldum and Memphis Depay were decisive as Netherlands beat France 2-0 to relegate Germany in the Nations League and give themselves a chance at reaching the Finals. Germany needed France to win to give them a realistic chance of escaping the drop, but Netherlands deserved their victory in Rotterdam to ensure Joachim Low's men are demoted from the top tier. Netherlands can claim progression to the final four with a point in their last outing away to the relegated Germans. The home side had the better of the first period and deservedly broke the deadlock 44 minutes in through Wijnaldum, who made amends for an earlier miss. France never really showed the hunger to take control thereafter, and Depay wrapped things up with a stoppage-time penalty which beat the otherwise excellent Hugo Lloris in goal. Netherlands made a ferocious start which almost gave them a second-minute lead, but Wijnaldum shot straight at Lloris from 12 yards after Depay's cut-back. The visitors responded and went close themselves soon after when Antoine Griezmann saw a header saved by Jasper Cillessen. Netherlands' control dissipated as the first half progressed, but they did go ahead just before the break – Wijnaldum slotting in the rebound after Ryan Babel failed to beat Lloris from close range. Lloris had to be alert to prevent a second just after the hour, denying Denzel Dumfries' header and then blocking the defender's follow-up effort with his right leg. Depay was the next to test Lloris 17 minutes from time – his 25-yard free-kick forcing the goalkeeper into save down to his left. The Lyon star went close again soon after, dashing beyond Benjamin Pavard and seeing Lloris deflect a left-footed drive wide. France could not capitalise, however, as Netherlands made sure of the victory in the sixth minute of added time - Depay producing a cheeky 'Panenka' penalty after Frenkie de Jong had been tripped by substitute Moussa Sissoko.   What does it mean? Netherlands becoming a force once again Many were quick to write off Netherlands' chances when the groups were revealed, but they have proven themselves to be a match for anyone. Youthful, vibrant and full of flair, the Oranje are starting to look like their old selves again and could make the Finals depending on their result against Germany. They are a point behind world champions France with that Germany game in hand. De Jong dictator He may be only 21, but De Jong controlled the match with the composure and maturity of someone much older. He was a calming influence, completing more passes in the opposition half than anyone else on the pitch, going on to win the clinching penalty. Nzonzi the fall guy Roma midfielder Steven Nzonzi was culpable for the first goal having lost possession and never really made amends, struggling to make much of an impact against the dominant Dutch middle trio before being replaced in the closing stages. What's next? Netherlands' final Nations League match takes them to Gelsenkirchen to face Germany on Monday. France will be interested observers in that one, and are then in action themselves in a friendly clash with Uruguay – who they beat in the World Cup quarter-finals – a day later.

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