Germany stumbles as Brazil clicks in friendlies

Brazil managed to find few solutions for its Neymar puzzle as the World Champion Germany stuttered in its international friendlies.

Germany's Julian Brandt (right) and Brazil's defender Thiago Silva vie for the ball during the international friendly.   -  AFP

In the second part of the international friendlies round-up, Sportstar takes a look at teams from Groups E-H.

Brazil managed to find few solutions for its Neymar puzzle as the World Champion Germany stuttered. Mexico was faced with injury concerns by the end of the internationals, while England players were left confused by VAR.

Group E


Brazil's preparation for a possible World Cup without the injured Neymar got off to a perfect start. It got a taste of the conditions in store for the showpiece event as Tite's side won 3-0 against Russia in Moscow. In its next fixture, Gabriel Jesus helped avenge the painful 7-1 home defeat to Germany in 2014 with a 1-0 win in Berlin.


Switzerland, without the injured talisman Xhedran Shaqiri, beat Greece (1-0) and Panama (6-0). Veteran midfielder Blerim Dzemaili was in the forefront of both the victories.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica travelled to Europe for its friendlies, facing Scotland and Tunisia. It registered a 1-0 win at Hampden Park thanks to striker Marco Urena's goal in the first quarter of the match. Two days later, it suffered a 1-0 reverse at the hands of Tunisia in Nice.


Serbia fell to a 2-1 defeat to Morocco in its opening fixture. Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic scored twice in the second half to give the Serbians a 2-0 win over Nigeria in the following fixture.

Group F


The World Champion faced tough opponents in the form of Spain and Brazil. A Thomas Muller wonder-strike cancelled out Rodrigo's early goal in the 1-1 draw in Dusseldorf. A full-strength Brazil side defeated Germany in Berlin thanks to a goal from Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus.


The Central American side had a comfortable 3-0 win over Europe's Iceland. However, Croatia's Ivan Rakitic scored from the spot to hand Juan Carlos Osorio's side a 1-0 defeat. While Javier Hernandez earned his 100th cap, defender Nestor Araujo suffered a serious injury. More injury concerns struck El Tri as Araujo's replacement Diego Reyes and Carlos Salcedo also went off with niggles.


Sweden slumped to home and away defeats to Chile (2-1) and Romania (1-0). Amidst the losses, Zlatan Ibrahimovic continues to stoke rumours of his return from international exile during the upcoming World Cup.

Read: Uruguay, Spain biggest gainers from latest friendlies

South Korea

The South Koreans travelled to Europe for both their friendlies and returned home with two defeats. First, a 2-1 loss to Northern Ireland after taking an early lead through Kwon Chang-hoon. Then, it came up against a Robert Lewandowski-inspired Poland, which required an injury-time winner to down Shin Tae-yong's side 3-2.

Group G


Roberto Martinez's side played only once during the break and had an easy outing with a 4-0 win over Saudi Arabia. Strikers Romelu Lukaku and Michy Batshuayi got their names on the scoresheet. Midfielder Kevin de Bruyne added a late goal, which was his first goal since May 2016.


Results over the international break may have given Panama ominous signs as to what to expect during the World Cup. It started off with a 1-0 loss to Denmark before Switzerland took it apart in a 6-0 walloping. The Central American nation, however, had a chance to experience conditions similar to Russia by playing in Europe.


Tunisia, which will play its first World Cup since 2006, picked up two back-to-back 1-0 wins against Iran and Costa Rica. Iran's Milad Mohammadi's second-half own goal gave the Tunisians a plucky win at home. Against Costa Rica, star forward Wahbi Khazri struck the winner.


England put its fear of a World Cup without Harry Kane behind by producing solid performances against the Netherlands and Italy. In Amsterdam, Jesse Lingard scored his first England goal to give the visitor a deserved 1-0 win. A late VAR referred penalty denied Gareth Southgate's side a repeat of the scoreline. Jack Wilshere was sent back to Arsenal after an injury scare.

Group H


It was an eventful week for Poland, as it registered a loss and a win from its two matches at home. After the 1-0 loss to Nigeria, Poland won a five-goal thriller against South Korea. Against the South Koreans, it took a 2-0 lead only to concede it in the last five minutes of the match. Piotr Zieliński then came up with a stunning curling effort in the 90th minute to give Adam Nawalka's side the win.


Senegal managed two draws against Uzbekistan (1-0) and, Bosnia and Herzegovina (0-0). Moussa Konate was the sole scorer for Senegal, which will be making a World Cup appearance after 16 years. Everton's Idrissa Gueye suffered a muscle tear that would keep him out of action for at least three weeks.


Colombia forced a stunning 3-2 comeback win over France in Paris, after trailing 2-0 early in the game. Luis Muriel and Radamel Falcao brought the side level before Juan Quintero scored from the spot to seal the win. In the next fixture, however, it failed to defeat Australia (0-0), which came off a 4-1 loss to Norway.


Japan played both its friendlies in Belgium in a possible bid to get used to European conditions before the World Cup. Results, however, might not have gone its way as it lost to Ukraine and avoided defeat to Mali, only, thanks to a late injury-time goal from Shoyo Nakajima.

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