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Friendlies recap: Messi, Ronaldo live up to hype; France downs Brazil and more

Messi (Reuters Pictures)


Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo finally got the chance to face each other on the international stage, and they did not disappoint.

Messi set up the opening goal in the 14th minute with a wonderous pass to scorer Angel Di Maria, only to have Ronaldo answer with a goal of his own seven minutes later. Messi had the final say, though, as he slotted home a 90th-minute penalty kick to deliver Argentina a 2-1 victory over Portugal in Geneva, Switzerland.

Ronaldo was subbed off after 60 minutes, leaving Messi to carry the action for the final half an hour. The Barcelona star nearly set up two other goals, with one potential assist being stuffed by Portugal keeper Rui Patricio and another by the crossbar.

Here are the highlights of the match along with some of the day's other notable outcomes:



Brazil was reduced to 10 men after Hernanes was sent off for a high boot to Karim Benzema's chest (a la Nigel De Jong-Xabi Alonso from the World Cup), and Benzema retaliated by scoring the lone goal on a 54th-minute sitter to deliver the victory to the hosts.




Giuseppe Rossi scored an 81st-minute equalizer to salvage a draw for the Azzurri. Miroslav Klose put the Germans ahead early on after some nifty passing between Mesut Ozil and Thomas Mueller set him up for the opener.



Aston Villa teammates Darren Bent and Ashley Young each scored to help the Three Lions rally from an early deficit in Copenhagen.


Other notable results:

  • Iran 1, Russia 0
  • Croatia 4, Czech Republic 2
  • Netherlands 3, Austria 1
  • Turkey 0, South Korea 0
  • Greece 1, Canada 0
  • Spain 1, Colombia 0


Were you impressed by Messi and Ronaldo? Which results stood out for you?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. there is a massive population of Argentinan’s in Switzerland. AFA gets more money in per ticket in Switzerland than playing in Argentina. much like Mexico in USA vs playing in Mexico

  2. Mexico/Bosnia reportedly pulled in over 50K in Atlanta last night. Everybody wants to get close to Chicharito (who had a pretty awful game).

    I hate soccer in the Dome, but people have shown up for Mexico’s last two friendlies here.

    (C’mon, US Soccer, give us a chance…)

  3. US vs Chile was one of the best officiated games I’ve seen in a long time courtesy of Francisco Chacon from Mexico. One could even say he was a little pro American towards the end. We all know MLS refs are amongst the worst anywhere doesn’t matter if their parents were Mexican or Bosnian. But lets not get started with “elite” refs like Medina Cantalejo of Spain or Howard Webb who is 100% biased toward United. These refs have bent the rules to distort meaningful outcomes, and not just mostly meaningless ones.

  4. Neymar is who they really missed, and Ganso will be a major addition when he is back. No excuses though. Weird to see Brazil have trouble scoring and problems with red cards.

  5. I’m not Bosnian–my only interest was in a fairly officiated match, and Marrufo was a joke. You obviously didn’t see the game.

  6. I don’t know if I would describe it as being “lit up” by Benzema. I mean, he scored what is essentially a tap-in, and he squandered the opportunity to score about 3 other girls w/ some pretty bad shots.

  7. Jair Marrufo with some criminally pro-Mexico reffing.

    No wonder–his father was a former Mexican ref.

    That was actually tough to watch and embarrassing for U.S. refs.

    I’m surprised he didn’t ask Chicarito to for a signed jersey afterwards.

    And we get him back in MLS this year, huh? Great.

  8. Some classic highlights there. Is Messi the only guy who fights through legs to stay dribbling rather than fishing for a kick? Wow – once in generation football greatness.

  9. Does FIFA use these friendlies to rank the countries? Now that they use the rankings to setup the World Cup seeds, it makes these meaningless games sort of meaningful, sort of.

  10. Why would Argentina and Portugal play a friendly in Switzerland? I understand not wanting European-based players to have to make the flight to south South America, but Portugal is in Europe! Play in front of your *real* fans.

  11. I had to go back and watch that goal to see what you were talking about. Funny to see one player sprint towards the penalty taker like that.

    Brazil v France: Good to see FIFA cracking down on martial artists who sneak on the field in the guise of soccer players. Now if only DeJong would get kicked out of the sport for good.

  12. Dang, that was the most brazen case of encroachment I’ve ever seen on a penalty kick. Portugese dude almost got to the ball before Messi struck it.

  13. I have to say that I was realy impressed by Italy today against what we already know to be a great German side. They’re young and hungry and eager to impress in a way I haven’t seen the Azzurri be in ages. Great creativity on the attack, good defending (and that’ll just get better as the younger defenders gel – Ranocchia, who I at least had never heard of was incredibly confident), and Cassano, though not young, with his skills and imagination will be a scurge on opposing Ds if he can stay healthy into the 2012 Euros and 2014 cup.

  14. Haha, Brazil was lit up by Benzema. The French have their number.

    Real Madrid and Barca players were responsible for all the goals in the Argentina/Portugal match-up. It’s a conspiracy.


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