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International Round Up: Van Persie causes a scare; Ox injured in England draw; and more

RobinVanPersieNetherlands1-Ghana (Getty)


Fans in the Netherlands had quite the scare Wednesday.

On the eve of their team flight to Brazil, the Dutch beat Wales in a World Cup warm-up, 2-0, but star captain Robin van Persie had to be taken off at halftime after appearing to struggle with a groin injury.

Manager Louis Van Gaal was quick to tamp down the worst fears, telling media the injury was not serious and that the removal was precautionary.

“We took him off as a precaution because this was not an important match,” Van Gaal told Dutch radio. “It was important rather to save him for the World Cup.”

Van Persie is expected to be ready before the Netherlands open their World Cup run against Spain next week, Dutch media has reported.

Here’s a look at the rest of the flurry of international matches on Wednesday:


In a 2-2 draw between England and Ecuador, both sides can be thankful their shared red cards in a messy challenge came Wednesday and not next week in Brazil.

For England’s inexperienced 19-year-old winger Raheem Sterling, a reckless challenge was enough to earn a straight red, but seasoned veteran Antonio Valencia was also sent off for his reaction – grabbing Sterling by the neck.

It ended the match on a poor note and served as a stark reminder of what not to do in Brazil.

Worse, England youngster Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain left the game at the half amid fears of a possible ligament injury. He will reportedly have a scan on his knee Thursday.

But Wayne Rooney and Rickie Lambert each scored in the first half – good signs for the English as they will be counting on those two in Brazil.

Enner Valencia scored first and Michael Arroyo equalized for Ecuador in the second.


Italy settled for a 1-1 draw to Luxembourg in an embarrassing showing against a soccer lightweight.

The Italians started strong with Claudio Marchiso getting them on the board early on a setup by Mario Balotelli. But their experimental 4-1-4-1 formation couldn’t hold up, with defensive and offensive lapses abound.

The Italians missed chance after chance, which would haunt them in the 85th minute when Maxime Chanot headed a corner home with the help of poor man-marking.

“This test is absolutely not a failure, we tried to do things we had practiced in training,” Italy coach Cesare Prandelli told reporters. “But it’s clear we have to improve. But we had to try certain things as we have very few matches. We know that we weren’t brilliant, but we leave with the knowledge that we can have a great World Cup.”

It was Italy’s seventh match in a row without a win.


There were no surprises for Argentina, who sailed to an easy 3-0 victory over Trinidad and Tobago.

Though they could’ve stood to finish better, goals by Rodrigo Palacio, Javier Mascherano and Maxi Rodriguez were enough for the comfortable win.

Lionel Messi nearly scored, hitting the post with a free kick, but it was Mascherano who was there to knock it back for the goal.


Uruguay extended their unbeaten streak on home soil for a fairly easy 2-0 victory over Slovenia.

Edinson Cavani scored his seventh goal in ten matches in the first half. Substitute Christian Stuani put the match out of reach late for the final result.


Algeria 2 – 1 Romania

Hungary 1 – 0 Albania

Jamaica 2 – 2 Egypt

Chile 2 – 0 Northern Ireland

El Salvador 1 – 2 Côte d’Ivoire


  1. That tackle on Valencia was pure stupidity. Valencia’s reaction although also stupid, was completely warranted. Sterling’s tackle could have ending Valencia’s WC. This will undoubtedly add to the bad blood between United and Liverpool.

  2. Yes it is just a. Friendly but if I were an Italy fan I would be concerned. Italy has not played very well in all of their latest matches and they are in a very difficult group. If they are not careful I think there is a real possibility they fail to make it out of that group which would make it 2 WC in a row.

  3. Italy 1 — Luxembourg 1

    Bosinia – Herzegovina 1 — Mexico 0

    Mexico 3 — Ecuador 1

    England 2 — Ecuador 2

    Hmm……All of a sudden I’m starting to feel better about my team…..hahahahaha

  4. Monday not Tuesday. Don’t read much into Game friendlies friendly advice. Netherlands beat Ghana 4 – 1 last 4years in a world cup test match but we all know what happened later on in the competition.

  5. Netherlands first group game is against Spain…. and against all of those 5 world class Spanish midfielders.

    Interesting that the Dutch decided to play 5 true defenders vs. Ghana a couple days ago in preparation to the game with Spain. They knew the african midfielders were a good test to prepare for Spain. I keep hearing ghana is just too fast in midfield.

    Could playing 5 defender plus a #6 be a good tactic for the US and Jurgen?

    • I guess that’s the kit that required Spain to have to get a white one (instead of using their red one). At kickoff, I think the contrast in kits would’ve been OK, but after over an hour of sweating into them (well, 3/4 of an hour, since I assume most players change at HT), I can see where they’d look a bit too close.

      To your point, yeah, a pretty good look in my opinion also.

      • Why the hate for the collars? I think they look classy, and love the popped collar (Dwight Yorke rocked it). However, I have seen a lot of people who don’t like the collar. So, I am really asking, why the hate for collars?

  6. Let’s not put too much thought into these games. Most teams were playing back ups with shuffled line-ups that may not have played together before.

    • But it’s OK to lambast the USA in these past friendlies, even though they have won both on basically cruise control?

    • It should be very concerning for Italy…. if you look at Luxembourgs roster… its likely not even half of their team are fully professional… Italy is a presumed tournament contender… a team full of Serie A and Champions League level professionals should dispatch them easily regardless of the team put on the field/formation/whatever other excuse.

      • Results aren’t really important in these friendlies.

        In the USMNT’s last scrimmage before that magical 2002 World Cup run, they drew 2-2 with the Richmond Kickers. Let that sink in for a bit.

    • Possibly. Couldn’t say without seeing the game. But I had the same thought when I read the part about poor marking in the 85th minute.


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