Germany draw with Netherlands as Austria lose to Ivory Coast


The leaders of the Republic of Ireland’s World Cup qualifying group, Germany, had to settle for a 0-0 draw against old foes Netherlands despite dominating possession in their friendly international last night in Amsterdam.

Mario Goetze was twice denied by Dutch defender John Heitinga midway through the first half while Marco Reus shot just wide for the Germans.

Netherlands’ only good chance came in the second half when Daryl Janmaat’s fine effort was blocked by goalkeeper Manuel Neuer. The Dutch also suffered a blow when Schalke 04’s Ibrahim Afellay limped off injured.

Ireland’s other rivals in Group C, Austria, went down 3-0 at home to the Ivory Coast. Didier Ya Konan, Didier Drogba and Lacina Traore did the damage at the Ernst Happel Stadium in Vienna.

Bafetimbi Gomis came off the bench to give France a surprise 2-1 victory over Euro 2012 runners-up Italy in a entertaining friendly in Parma . Italy started brightly and Mario Balotelli was at the heart of most of the home attacks and it was his smart flick which led to Cesare Prandelli’s side taking the lead on 35 minutes.

Riccardo Montolivo took a pass from Balotelli and fed Stephan El Shaarawy who calmly slipped the ball under goalkeeper Hugo Lloris to claim his first Italy goal.

Didier Deschamps’s French side were second best but they equalised two minutes later thanks to a special goal.

Mathieu Valbuena skipped past Marco Verratti and Andrea Barzagli on the left before cutting inside and curling a superb strike into the top corner.

France then started to improved and deservedly took the lead after 67 minutes. Jeremy Menez did well down the left before cutting the ball back to Patrice Evra who hit the ball across the goal for substitute Gomis to tap in.

The United States twice fought back for a 2-2 draw with Russia in Krasnodar. A brilliant 76th-minute strike from Michael Bradley brought the US level after they gave up a ninth minute opener, then an injury-time equaliser from Mix Diskerud cancelled out Roman Shirokov’s penalty that looked to have given Russia the win.

Elsewhere, Chile coach Claudio Borghi was fired yesterday, minutes after his side were beaten 3-1 by Serbia in a friendly to rack up their fifth successive defea. “They’ve asked me to step aside, Im no longer the coach of the Chilean national team,” he told Chilean reporters after the match in St Gallen, Switzerland.

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