MADRID: World champions Spain maintained their steady progress towards the Cup defence in Brazil when they beat Italy 1-0 in a friendly in Madrid.
Pedro scored the goal which settled the contest in the 63rd minute while the Azzurri rarely threatened a Spanish side lining up the Brazilian-born Diego Costa for the first time.
Cristiano Ronaldo became Portugal’s all-time top scorer by contributing two goals to a comfortable 5-1 victory over Cameroon in Leiria. The Real Madrid forward broke Pauleta’s existing record of 47 goals for Portugal in the 21st minute and he set a new benchmark of 49 when wrapping up the comprehensive win seven minutes from time.
Vincent Aboubakar had cancelled his opener out, but Raul Meireles, Fabio Coentrao and Edinho put the hosts out of sight before Ronaldo added gloss to the result.
Didier Deschamps’s France revealed new-found confidence against 2010 runners-up Holland, who could not muster up a response to first-half goals from Karim Benzema and Blaise Matuidi on their way to a 2-0 defeat.
A Neymar hat-trick inspired Brazil to a comfortable 5-0 win over South Africa in Johannesburg.
Chelsea’s Oscar opened the scoring after 10 minutes before Neymar grabbed his first just before half-time.
The Barcelona star took just seconds after the re-start to score again, and after Fernandinho got in on the act, Neymar completed his treble in injury time.
The 22-year-old has scored 30 goals in 47 internationals for Brazil – leaving him just two goals outside the country’s all-time top-10 scorers.
In Mannheim, an experimental Germany – wearing their second colours, Flamengo-style black and red hoopes – beat Chile 1-0 with Mario Gotze scoring the winner on 16 minutes.
Gareth Bale turned on the style as he returned to Wales to run Iceland ragged in a 3-1 win. The Real Madrid star set up goals for James Collins and Sam Vokes before scoring a magnificent third himself.
Scotland had a good night as Scott Brown’s wonder goal sealed a 1-0 victory over Poland but James McCarthy’s second-half own goal meant the Republic of Ireland went down 2-1 at home to Serbia. Shane Long scored first but Filip Djordevic hit back before McCarthy settled the match.
Turkey and Sweden went head-to-head in Ankara with the hosts triumphing 2-1 on the night.
Mevlut Erding hit the opener within two minutes and a quick exchange of goals between Ola Toivonen and Olcan Adin after the break tipped the scales in the Turks’ favour.
Norway and the Czech Republic are also staying at home this summer but put on a good show in Prague.
Arsenal midfielder Tomas Rosicky opened the scoring before Tarik Elyounoussi levelled and, after Matej Vydra gave the Czechs the lead once again, Morten Gamst Pedersen hit a late equaliser to settle a dramatic 2-2 draw.
There was little for supporters to cheer in Cyprus, though, as 10-man Northern Ireland ground out a goalless draw in Nicosia despite losing Gareth McAuley to a red card.
Across the island in Larnaca, Ukraine found some reason to be cheerful amid political unrest back home by beating the United States 2-0 with goals from Andriy Yarmolenko and Marko Devic.
Fabio Capello’s Russia were 2-0 winners over Armenia but Greece were given food for thought ahead of the summer finals as South Korea claimed a 2-0 victory in Piraeus.
Montenegro beat qualifiers Ghana 1-0 while Algeria trumped Slovenia 2-0 and Swansea’s Wilfried Bony grabbed a late leveller as Ivory Coast held Belgium to a 2-2 draw in Brussels. Marouane Fellaini and Radja Nainggolan gave the hosts a two-goal lead but veteran striker Didier Drogba halved the deficit before Bony had the last word.
Switzerland’s meeting with Croatia also finished 2-2, Nurnberg’s Josip Drmic scoring his first international goals and Ivica Olic bagging a brace in response.
Romania sprang a surprise by holding two-time world champions Argentina to a goalless draw in Bucharest and Uruguay drew 1-1 with Austria.
Gibraltar lost 2-0 ‘at home’ in Portugal to Estonia in what was their third fixture since becoming a full UEFA member.