International friendlies

Now, I want to take nothing away from Fabregas. This season, along with Wayne Rooney, he has been the best player in the Premier League without a shadow of a doubt.

Indeed if any of the PFA or Football Writers can make a justifiable case for anyone else other than these two being the only contenders for their Player of the Year, then quite frankly we need to bring in the psychologists and ensure that people understand the game properly before they play it or write about it.

International friendlies only confirm what we already knew…

This week’s round of International matches did not really gift football followers any deeper knowledge of the 32 teams who will be participating in the Summer’s finals in South Africa, indeed it was pretty much a case of expected results for most of the teams down as the bookmakers favourites for the World Cup.

Higuain shocks Germany on home soil

Arguably the biggest shock of the night came in Germany where Diego Maradona’s Argentina finally seem to be finding some form ahead of the finals. The Argentinean side emerged from the clash in Munich with a 1-0 win, thanks to Gonzalo Higuain’s goal to hand Germany a rare home defeat.

The result will be a timely boost to Argentina ahead of the finals after a disappointing qualification campaign.

Spanish stroll against the French

Another side who struggled in qualifying struggled again last night. France, however, were hosting European Champions Spain at the Stade des France, but two first half goals from David Villa and Sergio Ramos were enough to give the Spaniards a comfortable victory.

The result only really confirms what most football fans knew however, that Raymond Domenech’s France are no longer the powerhouse of world football they once were and that Spain really are the real deal and well worthy of being one of the two major tournament favourites with most betting sites online.

Robinho returns to haunt the republic

The other favourites for the tournament, Brazil, took on Ireland in London and emerged with a 2-0 victory. In the end the result was a fair reflection of the Samba stars dominance in the second period. The first half was particularly untidy with little to impress the Emirates support and only a Keith Andrews own goal just before the interval separating the sides.

However Brazil got into their stride in the second period and capped a much improved display with a lovely second, scored by Manchester City exile Robinho. Certainly on their second half performance Brazil are rightfully regarded amongst the favourites along with the Spanish.

Crouch double rescues England

It was a game of two halves as well for England at Wembley. A shabby first half performance, which saw Egypt take a deserved lead through Zidan, was countered by a much improved second half performance that saw Peter Crouch net a double and Shaun Wright Phillips a rare strike to give England a much needed 3-1 victory over a side that are, on current form, Africa’s strongest nation.

Italians struggle for goals

Not that Italy would agree with that assessment. The Azzuri could only manage a disappointing 0-0 draw at home to Cameroon, a worrying result for the current World Champions who have struggled for goals throughout their qualifying period.

However few would bet against Marcelo Lippi having his team prepared perfectly for the finals and as such it would be foolhardy to discount them on the basis of a single disappointing result.

Holland, Serbia and Urugay all impress

There were some eye catching results on the night for other teams tipped to do well in the finals. Ivory Coast had a shocking result, going down 2-0 to South Korea at home, while Algeria didn’t fare much better, losing 3-0 at home to a Serbia side that looks set to give Germany, Ghana and Australia a real run for money in their very tough looking group.

Uruguay travelled to Switzerland and emerged with a classy 3-1 victory, that despite going a goal down to the home side. Holland defeated the United States 2-1, Dirk Kuyt and Klaas Jan Huntelaar scoring the goals for the home side and Portugal laboured to a 2-0 victory over China.

To conclude…

So, it is very much a case of as you were. Brazil and Spain look the strongest two teams by some quite considerable distance. Holland, England and Argentina look the best of the teams trying to close the gap on them, the French and Germans flattered to deceive, the Italians are starting slowly like they always do,

Portugal won but it was hardly convincing and some of the top African teams flattered to deceive with only Cameroon and Senegal (who beat Greece 2-0 in Athens, but haven’t even qualified for the finals) getting results that they would be truly proud of.

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