PIX: Germany snap losing run; Spain, Argentina, England cruise

Images from the international friendly, 2026 World Cup qualifying and Euro 2024 qualifying football matches played on Tuesday.

Germany down France to end losing run

Euro 2024 hosts Germany beat France 2-1 in their international friendly on Tuesday to snap a three-game losing streak and regain some confidence following a bad run which led to the sacking of coach Hansi Flick on Sunday.

Goals from Thomas Mueller and Leroy Sane at the start and end gave Germany, managed by sports director Rudi Voeller for the game, their first win in their last six matches and capped a turbulent few days for the four-times world champions.

While France, 2022 World Cup runners-up, did not field their strongest team, with captain and top striker Kylian Mbappe on the bench, Germany’s overall performance was far improved from Saturday’s 4-1 home loss to Japan that led to Flick’s departure.

“For us it was clear we’d be running a lot today,” Mueller said. “It was a crazy situation in the past three days. But congratulations to Rudi and his staff on how they dealt with it.

“We did what we had to, we worked hard and we were rewarded for it. We should not read too much into this win but for us it was a small emotional release.”

The Germans, who had won four of their previous 17 matches before Tuesday, are desperate to create a buzz for next year’s tournament among home fans, and they set out to restore their tarnished image as a football powerhouse.

They pressed high and were rewarded when veteran Mueller rifled home from inside the box in the fourth minute for his 45th international goal after a fine 13-pass move.

The French gradually found their way into the game and grew more dangerous, with Randal Kolo Muani and Aurelien Tchouameni piling pressure on the home defence.

Tchouameni’s low drive in the 57th forced a good save from Marc Andre ter Stegen, who also denied Antoine Griezmann in the 82nd by tipping his shot over the bar.

Sane then completed a quick break to score in the 87th before bringing down Marcus Thuram two minutes later for a penalty, with Griezmann cutting the deficit for the visitors.

“It is important for the players, the federation to play like that, especially in the first half it was a top performance,” Voeller said.

“It was a relief for all of us. It just feels good especially after the recent defeats,” added Voeller, a 1990 World Cup winner who coached Germany from 2000-2004.

Argentina cruise to win over Bolivia

Argentina rested captain Lionel Messi but they still made light work of Bolivia as they won 3-0 to claim their second victory of the 2026 World Cup qualifiers on Tuesday.

Angel Di Maria took over as captain in Messi’s absence and shone, providing two assists before halftime.

“It’s two games in, we knew it was important to get six points for what’s to come,” the 35-year-old Di Maria told Argentine broadcaster TyC Sports.

“To be handed the captain’s armband by the best player in the world is unbelievable, I’m very proud.”

Chelsea’s Enzo Fernandez made it 1-0 after half an hour when he met Di Maria’s cross with a close-range finish to score his third international goal.

“I’m a bit choked, the altitude feels a lot, but I adapted well,” Fernandez said after his first match in La Paz, the world’s highest capital city at 3625 metres above sea level.

“The game is like that, it’s hard to catch my breath but I felt very good.”

Bolivia were dealt another blow five minutes later as they were reduced to 10 men after Roberto Fernandez was given a red card for an ugly tackle on Cristian Romero.

Nicolas Tagliafico doubled the lead and scored his first goal for World Cup holders Argentina with a header from a Di Maria free kick in the 42nd minute, before Nicolas Gonzalez’s powerful strike sealed the win in the 83rd.

Elsewhere in the second round of CONMEBOL qualifiers, Uruguay play Ecuador, Venezuela host Paraguay, Colombia face Chile, and Brazil visit Peru later on Tuesday.

Bellingham shines as England cruise to victory in Scotland

England brought Scotland crashing back down to earth with a comfortable 3-1 victory in a friendly at Hampden Park with Phil Foden, Jude Bellingham and Harry Kane on target on Tuesday.

After five successive Euro 2024 qualifying wins there was a euphoric atmosphere amongst the Tartan Army who sensed an opportunity for a first home win against England since 1985.

But once Foden turned in Kyle Walker’s stray shot in the 32nd minute and then Real Madrid’s Bellingham punished an Andy Robertson error three minutes later the party went flat.

An own goal by substitute Harry Maguire in the 67th minute raised the decibel level again and Steve Clarke’s side briefly made life uncomfortable for England before captain Kane ended Scotland’s hopes with a typically clinical finish.

To make matters worse Norway beat Georgia in a Group A qualifier when a draw would have sealed Scotland’s place in next year’s tournament, although they remain in a strong position.

England, who drew 1-1 with Ukraine at the weekend, are also top of Euro 2024 qualifying Group C.

The 116th edition of international soccer’s oldest fixture was dubbed the Heritage Match to mark the 150th anniversary of the first meeting between the old rivals.

It was not a happy night for the Scots though as England claimed a 49th victory that could have been a lot more emphatic had they taken all their chances.

England manager Gareth Southgate made six changes to the side that drew with Ukraine, handing defender Lewis Dunk his first cap since 2018 and offering Foden a start.

The depth in England’s squad was apparent though as they controlled the contest to give Scotland a reality check.

“The first half we didn’t really get started and England dominated the ball,” Scotland boss Steve Clarke told Channel 4.

“England showed the top side they are and we are trying to get to that level and some people maybe got a bit carried away and you have to understand where we are, trying to develop.”

Bellingham was simply magnificent as he continued his dream start to the season with Real Madrid and he set up an early chance for Walker who fired narrowly wide of the far post.

Bellingham was involved again in England’s opener, threading a pass to Marcus Rashford who teed up Walker for a shot which was going well wide but was diverted in by the alert Foden.

Scotland self-destructed soon after when they failed to clear their lines and Robertson played the ball straight to Bellingham who rifled a shot past Angus Gunn.

Maguire was given a run-out in the second half but the Manchester United player inadvertently handed Scotland a lifeline by clumsily prodding in Robertson’s low cross.

John McGinn glanced a header just over the top as Scotland suddenly looked dangerous but it was only a brief storm and the silky Bellingham was denied a superb solo goal by Gunn.

Bellingham then rounded off a great display with a slide-rule pass to Kane who finished with his trademark precision.

“I wasn’t happy with how I played against Ukraine, it wasn’t anywhere near my best and the motivation is always to get back to your best. I got somewhere close tonight,” Bellingham said.

Spain hit Cyprus for a six!

Ferran Torres scored twice to help Spain earn a comfortable 6-0 win against bottom side Cyprus in a Euro 2024 Group A qualifier on Tuesday, with Barcelona prodigy Lamine Yamal becoming his country’s youngest-ever starter aged 16 years and 61 days.

It was another record for Spain’s Yamal, who had become his country’s youngest international and goalscorer on Friday when he made his debut in a 7-1 win away to Georgia.

He was once again electric on the right wing and created several opportunities before he was substituted early in the second half, including a curling shot that hit the post in the 39th minute. Alvaro Morata scored from the rebound but the effort was ruled out by the VAR for offside.

Spain’s first-half goals, however, came through assists by another talented young winger, Athletic Bilbao’s 21-year-old Nico Williams.

Gavi struck to give the Spain an early lead in the 18th minute and Mikel Merino headed in the second goal 15 minutes later, both from crosses by Williams, who had a shot from point-blank range denied by goalkeeper Joel Mall a little later.

Substitute Joselu scored the third with a header in the 70th minute and Torres, Alex Baena and Torres again finished off Spain’s demolition job with close-range strikes.

Spain are second in Group A on nine points after four matches. They trail leaders Scotland by six points but have a game in hand.

“We made two well worked matches, we have been lucky enough to score a lot of goals which are important at the end of the group stage as a tie-breaker,” defender Robin Le Normand told TVE.

“Those are games that seem easy but you have to be focused every minute on defence because your rival is waiting for that one opportunity to score.

“You could be there standing still for 60 minutes and than one ball comes and you have to stop it. We are going back home very happy.”

Frattesi double gives Italy win over Ukraine

Italy’s Davide Frattesi struck twice for a 2-1 win over Ukraine in their Euro 2024 Group C qualifier on Tuesday to provide new manager Luciano Spalletti with a promising start on home soil.

Italy were held to a 1-1 draw away to North Macedonia on Saturday in Spalletti’s debut match so the pressure was on the former Napoli coach to deliver at San Siro.

Italy are now second in the standings on seven points ahead of Ukraine on goal difference and with a game in hand on all their group rivals. England top the section with 13 points.

“There was a lot of pressure in recent weeks, and I had to understand many things in a short time,” Spalletti told RAI.

He said he was pleased with the performance despite the narrow win, adding: “We have to be happy because it’s not always possible to not even concede a single cross to our opponent.”

Italy broke the deadlock in the 12th minute through Frattesi after Mattia Zaccagni retrieved the ball on the left and rolled it back to the midfielder, who scored from inside the box.

Just before the half-hour mark Frattesi got his second goal by calmly slotting home once again from close range, capitalising on a ricocheted shot.

Frattesi, who has only appeared for his new club Inter Milan as a substitute so far this season after joining from Sassuolo in July, downplayed his contribution.

“I still have a lot to improve. It’s normal not to be a starter at Inter as I’ve just joined them, but these games will help me grow a lot,” he said.

Ukraine pulled one back four minutes before halftime when Andriy Yarmolenko put a rebound into an empty net from close range to increase the tension among the home fans.

The visitors exerted considerable pressure after the restart in their quest for an equaliser but only managed to create half-chances that Italy managed to deal with.

Manuel Locatelli came close for Italy towards the end of the match with a powerful attempt that struck the crossbar following several earlier efforts that were blocked inside the box.

“In the final minutes, they (Ukraine) left several players in attack as losing with a larger goal difference wouldn’t change much for them. However, we need to be better at scoring the third and fourth goal when we can,” Spalletti said.

Source: Read Full Article