[WORLD CUP 2014 FRIENDLIES] The four Group G finalists split their World Cup tune-ups on Wednesday. Losers were the USA and Ghana, which fell to Montenegro, 1-0,
on a penalty conceded after 15 seconds of play, while Germany and Portugal earned wins over fellow World Cup finalists Chile (1-0) and Cameroon (5-1), respectively. The German performance was hardly
impressive as the Group G seeds drew whistles from the crowd in Stuttgart.
GERMANY-CHILE (1-0). An early goal from
Mario Goetze set up by Mesut Ozil gave the Germans a lead they never relinquished. Chile's best chance came when Eduardo Vargas hit the crossbar in the second half.
"That was a lucky win," admitted German captain Philipp Lahm.
"I can understand the jeers and whistles. People pay good money to watch us and it's clear that we have a lot of work to do before the World Cup. But we always prepare well for a World Cup, so I am
PORTUGAL-CAMEROON (5-1). Cristiano Ronaldo became Portugal's all-time leading scorer as his two
goals gave him to 49 goals, breaking the previous record he shared with Pauleta.
'I don't worry about breaking records," Ronaldo told RTP
television. "It's something that happens naturally, with lots of dedication."
MONTENEGRO-GHANA (1-0). Ghana, which will open up at the World Cup
against the USA, fell to Montenegro in Podgorica on Dejan Damjanovic's penalty kick. The penalty was awarded after Vitoria Guimaraes defender David Addy took down Filip Kasalica in the area.
Ghana's best chances to get back in the game came in the first
half, but Vitesse forward Christian Atsu could not capitalize.
Joel Campbell's golazo for Costa Rica:
-- The USA and Ghana were two of four finalists to lose to sparring partners not headed to Brazil. Iran fell, 2-1, at home to Guinea, raising doubts about Team Melli's readiness,
and Bosnia-Herzegovina lost to Egypt, 2-0, in the Pharaohs' first game under new coach Shawky Ghari since he took over for Bob
-- The big winner of the day was France, which beat the Netherlands, 2-0, getting first-half goals from Real Madrid's Karim Benzema
and Paris St. Germain's Blaise Matuidi with a spectacular effort to end the Oranje's 17-game unbeaten streak.
-- Neymar scored a hat trick to give him 30 goals for Brazil, and English-based midfielders Oscar (Chelsea)
and Fernandinho (Manchester City) added goals as Brazil beat 2010 host South Africa in a game that drew more more than 51,000 fans in Johannesburg. -- A pair of MLS players scored for Concacaf finalists: Jerry Bengtson (New England) for Honduras and Alvaro Saborio (Real Salt Lake) for Costa Rica.
-- Mexico drew a Georgia Dome record soccer crowd of 68,220 for
its 0-0 tie with Nigeria. Javier Hernandez's miseries continued as he had to leave the game with strained knee ligaments.
WORLD CUP 2014 FRIENDLIES: March 5 in Atlanta MEXICO 0 NIGERIA 0.
March 5 in San Pedro Sula HONDURAS 2 Venezuela 1. Goals: Bengston 7, J.Palacios 50; Otero 21.
March 5 in San Jose COSTA RICA 2 Paraguay 1. Goals: Campbell 43,
Saborio 73; Navas 86.
March 5 in Larnaca Ukraine 2 USA 0. Goals: Yarmolenko 12, Devic 65.
March 5 in Podgorica Montenegro 1 GHANA 0. Goal: Damjanovic pen. 1.
March 5 in Stuttgart GERMANY 1 CHILE 0. Goal: Goetze
March 5 in Leira PORTUGAL 5 CAMEROON 1. Goal: Cristiano Ronaldo 21, 83, Raul Meireles 65, Fabio Coentrao 67, Edinho 77.
March 5 in Madrid SPAIN 1 ITALY 0. Goal: Pedro 61.
March 5 in Piraeus GREECE 0 SOUTH KOREA 2.
Goals: Park Chu-young 18, Son 55.
March 5 in Tokyo JAPAN 4 New Zealand 2. Goals: Okazaki 4, 17, Kagawa pen. 7, Morishige 11; Wood 39,
March 5 in Tehran IRAN 1 Guinea 2. Goals: Constant 34, I.Traore 39; Ghoochannejhad 55.
March 5 in Krasnodar RUSSIA 2 Armenia 0. Goals: Kokorin 21, Kombarov 43.
March 5 in St. Denis
FRANCE 2 NETHERLANDS 0. Goals: Benzema 32, Matuidi 41.
March 5 in London ENGLAND 1 Denmark 0. Goal: Sturridge 82. March 5 in Brussels BELGIUM 2
IVORY COAST 2. Goal: Fellaini 17, Nainggolan 51; Drogba 74, Gradel 90.
March 5 in Bucharest Romania 0 ARGENTINA 0.
March 5 in London AUSTRALIA 3 ECUADOR 4. Goals: Cahill 8, 32, Jedinak pen. 16; Martinez 57, Castillo pen. 61, Valencia
77, Mendez 90+1.
March 5 in St. Gallen SWITZERLAND 2 CROATIA 2.
Goals: Drmic 34, 41; Olic 39, 55.
March 5 in Innsbruck BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA 0 Egypt 2. Goals: Gedo 48, Salah 61.
March 5 in Klagenfurt Austria 1 URUGUAY 1. Goals: Janko 14;
March 5 in Johannesburg. South Africa 0 BRAZIL 5. Goals: Oscar
10, Neymar 41, 46, 90+1, Fernandinho 79.
March 5 in Blida ALGERIA 2 Slovenia 0.
Goals: Soudani 45, Taider 56.
March 5 in Barcelona COLOMBIA 1 Tunisia 1.
Goals: Rodriguez pen. 20; Khazri 35.