Uruguay, Spain biggest gainers from latest friendlies

Two of the favourites to win the FIFA World Cup 2018, Argentina and Spain had contrasting takeaways from their respective friendlies.

Spain had a good workout in its friendlies against Germany and Argentina.   -  Getty Images

The last of the international friendlies this season proved an ideal preparation for the likes of Uruguay and Spain. The same, however, cannot be said for Portugal and Argentina, which did not get as much from their fixtures as they will have liked to with the preparation for Russia 2018 gathering pace.

Here's part one of Sportstar's round-up of the action from last week's international friendlies:

Group A


The injury-ridden host didn't have the best of preparations as it lost to powerhouses France and Brazil over the international break. In 180 minutes of action, only Fyodor Smolov managed to get on the score-sheet for Stanislav Cherchesov's side as it shipped six goals in return.

Saudi Arabia

The Asian side managed a 1-1 draw against Ukraine with the help of a Fahad Al-Muwallad equaliser. Then, it suffered a 4-0 defeat to a Romelu Lukaku-inspired side.


Uruguay travelled to China to participate in the China Cup, which also featured Wales, Czech Republic and the host nation. Paris Saint-Germain striker Edinson Cavani was in prime form as he scored a spectacular overhead kick in the 2-0 win over the Czechs before he scored the only goal in the final against Wales. Left-back Jose Gimenez suffered a serious ankle injury during the Wales win, potentially ruling him out of the World Cup.


Egypt was four minutes from creating history when red-hot striker Mo Salah scored against Portugal. It was ultimately denied the win when Cristiano Ronaldo scored two headed goals in injury time. In the next fixture, a rested Salah watched on as Egypt went down 1-0 to Greece.

Group B


Portugal's blushes were saved against Egypt after a brace from star-striker Ronaldo earned it a narrow 2-1 win. Then, Fernando Santos' side came up against the Netherlands, which thrashed it 3-0 to compound it's problems. Inter Milan defender Joao Cancelo received his marching orders in the defeat.


Coach Julen Lopetegui could have had a near perfect preparation if not for Thomas Muller's wonder-strike as Germany managed to hold Spain to a 1-1 draw. It then thrashed a Lionel Messi-less Argentina 6-1 as Isco scored a treble.

Read: Isco hits hat-trick in thumping of Messi-less visitor


Morocco, which will be participating in a World Cup after 20 years, won both its friendlies; a 2-1 win over Serbia and, then, a 2-0 win over Uzbekistan.


Iran played three friendlies over a period of 11 days, winning two and losing away to Tunisia. The Carlos Queiroz-coached side ran out 4-0 and 2-1 winners over Sierra Leone and Algeria. 

Group C


Didier Deschamps's France was shocked in Paris by Colombia after taking a 2-0 lead. Olivier Giroud and Thomas Lemar put the Les Blues in front before the 2014-quarterfinalist scored three to complete the comeback. Against Russia, teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe scored a brace and Paul Pogba put his club travails aside to score a free-kick in a 3-1 win. 


New coach Bert van Marwijk's first match in the hot-seat saw a humiliating 4-1 loss to Norway, despite taking the lead. However, it managed a better defensive display in the 0-0 draw against Colombia.


Forwards Andre Carrillo and Edison Flores helped Peru score a historic win over Croatia. It followed it up with a 3-1 win over World Cup first-timer Iceland. The only blemish from the week for the Peruvians was Yoshimor Yotun receiving a red card.


Celta striker Pione Cisto scored the only goal in Denmark's win over Panama. It then held a Chile side, which had Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal in its ranks, to a 0-0 draw. Chelsea's Andres Christensen was sent home before the friendlies due to fatigue.

Group D


Argentina suffered mixed fortunes during the international break as it went about its preparations without star man Lionel Messi. Jorge Sampaoli's side recorded a 2-0 win thanks to Manuel Lanzini's first goal for the Albiceleste. Then, it received a 6-1 hiding at the hands of Spain. Goalkeeper Sergio Romero sustained an injury 12 minutes into the match.

Read: Spain defeat a cause for concern for Albiceleste?


Iceland's trip to the United States ended in two defeats as it lost its friendlies to Mexico (3-0) and Peru (3-1). Only Jón Guðni Fjóluson managed to get on the score-sheet for the Icelanders.


After a 2-0 reverse to Peru, it managed to register a 1-0 win over Mexico, thanks to a penalty from Ivan Rakitic. Midfielder Milan Badelj suffered a knee injury during the match and has been ruled out for a month.


A Victor Moses penalty gave The Super Eagles a 1-0 win over Poland in Wroclaw before a 2-0 defeat to Serbia. Kelechi Iheanacho sustained a hand injury during the win over Poland.

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