Nobody cares about international friendlies, let’s be honest. They are quite often dull and tame with neither side wanting to pick up injuries, especially at the beginning of a new season. Almost every player in the match day squad gets a run out and the game includes more stoppages than goalmouth action.
For some reason the international players were given the wrong script on Wednesday: Uruguay 4-2 Japan. Sweden 4-2 Norway. Liechtenstein 2-3 Croatia. Bosnia & Herzegovina 3-4 USA. Poland 3-2 Denmark. England 3-2 Scotland. Who knew friendlies could be this exciting?
Of those six matches, three teams came from behind to win by a goal, including England who fell behind twice at home to Scotland – super-sub Rickie Lambert heading home the winner less than three minutes after making his England debut.
Here’s a round-up of the international action, as it’s likely you were probably watching paint dry or grass grow instead of checking out such boring fixtures.
England 3-2 Scotland
We’ll start with England-Scotland. First game in 14 years and England made hard work of it as usual. They looked good going forward, with Rooney, Welbeck and Walcott linking up, and later Zaha looking threatening. Moment of the match goes to Lambert for his goal with his first touch in international football, although Cleverley’s pass for the opening England goal was a joy to behold.
Wales 0-0 Republic of Ireland
I’ll keep this brief: No Bale, no goals – hope you stayed away from Sky Sports for that one.
Switzerland 1-0 Brazil
The Brazilian boys slipped up against Switzerland, although they did score the only goal of the game, Dani Alves knocking in the winner for the Swiss just after half time. Confederations Cup hangover it seems. This exhibition tour doesn’t suit them; they need competitive games.
Germany 3-3 Paraguay
Joachim Low didn’t enjoy his side’s defensive performance yesterday evening, calling the mistakes “elementary”. Substitute Lars bender saved Germany’s blushes as they recovered from an early 2-0 deficit to draw.
Sweden 4-2 Norway
A Scandinavian battle was won by Sweden. Well, Zlatan Ibrahimovic to be precise, as he notched up a hat-trick, less than a year on from his mauling of England in the same stadium.
Colombia 0-2 Spain
Routine win for the world and European champions as they cruised to a 2-0 victory over Ecuador. Goal of the night goes to City’s new signing Alvaro Negredo who scored a delightful back heel from six yards out to open the scoring.
An entertaining night all round (As long as you avoided Wales-Ireland and Belgium-France, which also ended 0-0). With that done and dusted we can go back to the ‘real’ football. What’s the betting there’s a lot less five goal thrillers on Saturday when the Premier League gets underway?