FIFA 2014 World Cup: Stars shine before Samba performance in friendlies
A look at the international footballers who dazzled at the recent 2014 World Cup friendlies played across the world on Wednesday night
The FIFA Player of the Year 2013 was at his superb best on Wednesday night as his skills created Portugal’s opener.
Real Madrid’s talisman then went close twice in the second period. He eventually scored a much-deserved second goal late on.
The highlight of Wales’ 3-1 win over Iceland was Gareth Bale racing down the right flank past two defenders before firing into the bottom-left corner. The world record signing played so well on Wednesday night — he also created the other two goals — that manager Chris Coleman joked that he had asked for Bale’s autograph.
Neymar’s performance last night for Brazil would have warmed the hearts of the millions of fans in the football-mad country.
The Barcelona ace struck once in the first half and twice in the second half as his team ran riot against a hapless South Africa, eventually winning 5-0, thanks to goals from Chelsea midfielder Oscar and Manchester City's Fernandinho.
Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema gave Les Bleus the lead at the Stade de France with a thumping first-half volley. The striker, who famously went 1,200 minutes without scoring a goal for France recently, firmly established himself ahead of Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud in the pecking order for a starting berth up front going into this year’s World Cup with the goal. He also played a part in the second goal.
Argentina could only draw 0-0 against Romania on Wednesday night despite Argentinian coach Alex Sabella fielding his first choice side with Lionel Messi playing along with Sergio Aguero, Angel di Maria and Gonzalo Higuain.
Star forward Messi, who vomited in the seventh minute, continued to play for the entire duration of the match — showing his gritty nature.
... And the stars who flopped
Robin van Persie
>> Spain 1 (Pedro) bt Italy 0
>> Portugal 5 (Ronaldo 2, Meireles, Coentrao , Edinho) bt Cameroon 1 (Aboubakar)
>> France 2 (Benzema, Matuidi) bt Netherlands 0
>> Belgium 2 (Fellaini, Nainggolan) drew with Ivory Coast 2 (Drogba, Gradel)
>> Germany 1 (Goetze) bt Chile 0
>> England 1 (Sturridge) bt Denmark 0
>> Wales 3 (Collins, Bale, Vokes) bt Iceland 1 (Williams og)
>> Uruguay 1 (Alvaro Pereira) drew with Austria 1 (Janko)
>> Romania 0 drew with Argentina 0
>> Brazil 5 (Oscar, Neymar 3, Fernandinho) bt South Africa 0
>> Serbia 2 (McCarthy og, Djordjevic) bt Republic of Ireland 1
>> Switzerland 2 (Drmic 2) drew with Croatia 2 (Olic)
>> Ukraine 2 (Yarmolenko, Devic) bt United States 0
>> Turkey 2 (Erding, Adin) bt Sweden 1 (Toivonen)
>> Egypt 2 (Gedo, Salah) bt Bosnia-Herzegovina 0
>> Colombia 1 (Rodriguez) drew with Tunisia 1 (Khazri)
>> Montenegro 1 (Dejan Damjanovic) bt Ghana 0