France, U.S. All Win As World Cup Looms
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[May 28, 2014]
(Reuters) - France, Japan and United
States recorded solid victories on Tuesday as the finalists continued
their preparations with the start of the World Cup just over two weeks
France 4-0 Norway (Paris)
France winger Mathieu Valbuena was in a class of his own as he set
up three goals in a 4-0 victory at home to Norway to help his side
start their World Cup warm-up games in style.
Valbuena excelled in a one-sided encounter, providing perfect
crosses for Paul Pogba and Olivier Giroud, who netted twice, to get
on the scoresheet along with substitute Loic Remy.
"Scoring four goals is never easy at international level, it's good
for our confidence," France coach Didier Deschamps told TF1.
- - U.S. 2-0 Azerbaijan (San Francisco)
The United States got their World Cup preparations off to a positive
start with a comfortable 2-0 friendly win over a well-disciplined
Azerbaijan at Candlestick Park in San Francisco on Tuesday.
Substitute Mix Diskerud pounced to drive home from close range in
the 75th minute before Aron Johannsson headed a second eight minutes
Juergen Klinsmann suffered a blow shortly before kick-off when Clint
Dempsey was withdrawn with a 'sore groin' but the German told ESPN
that the forward should recover from his injury in a few days.
- - Japan 1-0 Cyprus (Saitama)
Fullback Atsuto Uchida slotted the only goal as a dominant Japan
grabbed a 1-0 victory over Cyprus in a largely uninspiring World Cup
send off in front of 59,000 fans.
The Schalke O4 defender, on his return to the Japan side after a
thigh injury curtailed his season in Germany, drove home at the
second attempt two minutes before halftime after his initial effort
Shinji Kagawa, Yoichiro Kakitani and Keisuke Honda went close to
adding to the lead for the Japanese, who dominated possession and
were rarely tested in defense.
"I think the team did okay. We had a physically hard training camp
in Ibusuki so there was not so much sharpness, but our decision
making was good," Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni told reporters.
- - May 28: South Korea v Tunisia Nigeria v Scotland
- - May 26: Russia 1-0 Slovakia
Fabio Capello picked a strong team for their win over Slovakia in St
Petersburg with Zenit St Petersburg forward Alexander Kerzhakov
heading the only goal eight minutes from time.
Alexander Kokorin thought he had put Russia in front after latching
on to a glorious through ball by Sergei Ignashevich before lifting
the ball over goalkeeper Jan Mucha but English referee Mark
Clattenburg ruled it out for offside.
[to top of second column]
- - Australia 1-1 South Africa
Australia showed few signs that they might buck their underdog
status at the World Cup as they struggled to a tepid 1-1 draw
against an under-strength South Africa in Sydney.
More than 50,000 turned out at the Olympic Stadium to bid farewell
to the Socceroos before they depart for the finals but the home side
labored to break down Bafana Bafana.
Both the goals came inside a minute early in the first half with
Ayanda Patosi's 13th-minute effort for South Africa canceled out by
Australia's stand-in captain and leading international goalscorer
Australia face world champions Spain, 2010 runners-up the
Netherlands and Chile in Brazil.
- - Belgium 5-1 Luxembourg
Belgium got back to winning ways after a four-match sequence without
a victory as Romelu Lukaku hit a hat-trick to secure a 5-1 friendly
win over Luxembourg.
Three weeks before their World Cup opener, Belgium showed off the
neat passing that has prompted many to tip them to do well in Brazil
and also blooded three debutants, including 19-year-old Manchester
United winger Adnan Januzaj. Substitute Nacer Chadli scored
Belgium's fourth while Kevin De Bruyne converted a 91st minute
- - Macedonia 0-2 Cameroon
Pierre Webo and Eric Maxim Choup-Moting scored second-half goals as
Cameroon beat Macedonia 2-0 at a friendly in the neutral Kufstein
Arena, in Austria.
- - Montenegro 0-0 Iran
Neither side was able to break the deadlock as Iran were held to a
0-0 draw by Montenegro at the Hartberhg stadium in Austria.
(Reporting by Patrick Johnston; Editing by Ed Osmond/Greg
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