Neymar, Messi shine in respective international friendlies
Barcelona teammates Neymar and Lionel Messi were both on target as Brazil and Argentina claimed international friendly wins but struggling Netherlands slumped to another defeat
Paris: Barcelona teammates Neymar and Lionel Messi were both on target as Brazil and Argentina claimed international friendly wins but struggling Netherlands slumped to another defeat.
Lionel Messi and Neymar
In Istanbul, Brazil defeated Turkey 4-0 yesterday as coach Dunga celebrated a fifth successive win since taking the hotseat following his country's traumatic World Cup. The match, played out in front of a packed Sukru Saracoglu, also saw Turkey suffer a sixth match without a victory.
Neymar opened the scoring after 19 minutes when he picked up a cross from Fernandinho before dribbling the ball into the area and stabbing it past a static Suleyman Demirel in the Turkish goal. Five minutes later it was 2-0 when defender Suat Kaya put through his own goal under pressure from Luiz Adriano who was trying to reach a cross from Danilo.
Willian steered in the third just before the interval after a Neymar cross was not cleared with the Barcelona star adding his second on the hour mark after a neat one-two with Willian. "I think I'm in the best form of my career though I can't be satisfied. I shall keep on working hard to get even better, to keep on helping Barcelona and the Brazilian national side," Neymar told Globo TV.
Carlos Tevez ended his three-year international exile as World Cup runners-up Argentina came from behind to beat a second-string Croatia 2-1 in London. Tevez last played for Argentina at the 2011 Copa America, having been frozen out by former coach Alejandro Sabella, but he made his comeback at the home of his old club West Ham after being recalled by new coach Gerardo Martino.
The Juventus striker came on as a substitute for Sergio Aguero, who cancelled out Anas Sharbini's early opener for Croatia with a fortuitous equaliser before Lionel Messi scored the winner with a 57th-minute penalty. Argentina have now won three and lost one of their four friendly games since their 1-0 loss to Germany in the World Cup final.
It was a first defeat in five games for Croatia, who have won their first four Euro 2016 qualifiers, but defeat was mitigated by the fact coach Niko Kovac had left his entire first XI back in Zagreb to prepare for Sunday's encounter with Group H rivals Italy in Milan.
Messi's goal was the 45th of his international career. "Our goals were really nice goals and they came after mounting pressure," said Martino. "We still have to improve a lot, but there were some positive things."
In Amsterdam, the Netherlands lost 3-2 to Mexico, four days out from a crucial Euro 2016 clash against Latvia which could lead to the resignation of coach Guus Hiddink should the Dutch lose again.
Yesterday's loss, which saw Carlos Vela score twice for Mexico in his first appearance in three years, was Holland's fourth in five games since the World Cup. In other friendlies, Belgium beat Iceland 3-2 while Estonia edged Norway 1-0.
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