Messi-less Argentina still beat Italy

Aug 16, 2013, 01:40 IST | AFP

Despite the absence of World Player of the Year Lionel Messi, Argentina still had too much for Italy on Wednesday, winning 2-1 in Rome.

Real Madrid winger Angel Di Maria was the catalyst as Gonzalo Higuain and Ever Banega scored the visitors' goals before Lorenzo Insigne replied for the Azzurri.

Cristiano Ronaldo
Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo reacts during their friendly tie vs Netherlands. Pic/AFP

Dubbed the “Pope Francis” match, as it pitted the home of the new pontiff against the country he technically resides in, this was an eagerly-anticipated encounter.

Although each side’s top striker was missing — the injured Mario Balotelli sitting out for Italy — there was still much class on show.

Portugal held
In other games, Portugal and the Netherlands drew 1-1 on the Algarve, with a late Cristiano Ronaldo goal earning the home side a draw after Kevin Strootman had put the Dutch in front.

Friendly results
> Switzerland 1 (Alves) Brazil 0
> England 3 (Walcott, Welbeck, Lambert) Scotland 2 (Morrison, Miller)
> Belgium 0 France 0
Ecuador 0 Spain 2 (Negredo, Cazorla)
Germany 3 (Gundogan, Mueller, Bender) Paraguay 3 (Nunez, Pittoni, Samudio) 

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