England and Netherlands warm up with friendly wins
England were the first big winners on a busy night of international soccer friendlies when they came from behind to beat Denmark 2-1 in Copenhagen.
Copenhagen: England were the first big winners on a busy night of international soccer friendlies when they came from behind to beat Denmark 2-1 in Copenhagen.
Other fixtures featuring Germany v Italy, France v Brazil, Argentina v Portugal and world champions Spain v Colombia gave the first international date of the year a "World Cup feel" as Europe`s teams brushed off their winter cobwebs before the resumption of their Euro 2012 qualifiers next month.
Denmark took the lead against England at the Parken Stadium, where the roof was closed, with Daniel Agger, one of five players in the Dane`s starting line-up based in England, scoring with a superbly-executed header after eight minutes.
England equalised two minutes later with a tap-in from Darren Bent, before his Aston Villa colleague Ashley Young scored his first goal for England after 68 minutes.
Last year`s beaten World Cup finalists Netherlands proved too strong for Austria, securing a 3-1 win in Eindhoven with goals from Wesley Sneijder, Klass Jan Huntelaar and a penalty from Dirk Kuyt before Marko Arnautovic scored a late consolation for the visitors from the penalty spot.
Ukraine, the co-hosts for next year`s European championships with Poland, also had a good day.
Earlier, FIFA and UEFA eased the threat of suspension against them after Ukraine`s Football Federation (FFU), bowed to UEFA`s demands for the local governing body to drop calls for the departure of its long-time president Hrigory Surkis.
Then its national team emerged victorious from the annual winter four-team tournament in Cyprus after a 1-1 draw with Sweden and a 5-4 penalty shootout success. Ukraine`s goal in normal time also came via a penalty, scored by Marco Devic who equalised Johan Elmander`s early goal for Sweden.
Fellow hosts Poland also won, beating Norway 1-0 in a match played in Portugal with Robert Lewandowski scoring the only goal after 19 minutes.
Russia, who have been basking in the success of landing the right to stage the 2018 World Cup finals in recent weeks, were brought down to earth on the field, beaten 1-0 by Iran in Abu Dhabi, who had Mohammad Reza Khalatbari sent off for removing his shirt in celebration after scoring their last minute winner.