Austria and Norway suffered UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying defeats by their respective group leaders at the weekend but bounced back on Tuesday with friendly victories. There was frustration elsewhere, though, as UEFA.com rounds up the action, while in a game played in Belgium, the Republic of Ireland beat Italy 2-0.
Austria 3-1 Latvia
Behind early in the second half, Austria ran out winners against their eight-man opponents. Although Martin Harnik threatened twice early on, and Edgars Gauračs and Artjoms Rudņevs were denied at the other end, it was in the second half that the game in Graz sprung into life. Pāvels Mihadjuks put Latvia in front after 49 minutes, Austria drawing level through Christopher Dibon's header with 14 minutes left. Harnik gave them the lead soon after before Latvia suffered two dismissals – Mihadjuks and Andris Vaņins – in quick succession, the second resulting in Harnik's penalty. Oskars Kļava was sent off in added time.
Norway 1-0 Lithuania
Norway bounced back from Saturday's loss to Group H leaders Portugal with a narrow victory against a well-organised Lithuania side. Indeed, it was Raimondas Žutautas's visitors who had the best of the first-half openings, Marius Papšys and Ramūnas Radavičius bringing out the best of Rune Jarstein. Norway upped the tempo after the interval, though, Simon Brenne going closest before Morten Gamst Pedersen reacted first to his own saved penalty to score the decisive goal with seven minutes left.
Brazil 1-0 Romania
Romania's first game since the departure of coach Răzvan Lucescu ended with defeat in Sao Paulo. All-time leading FIFA World Cup finals scorer Ronaldo made his 104th and final appearance in the yellow of Brazil with a 15-minute cameo at the end of the first half, by which time the Seleção were ahead thanks to a goal set up by Neymar and converted by former Olympique Lyonnais forward Fred. Romania's most likely source of an equaliser were long-range efforts from Gabriel Mureşan, one of which struck the crossbar, and Gabriel Torje.
Ecuador 1-1 Greece
Top of UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying Group F, Greece were pegged back by their South American opponents in New York having taken the lead on 16 minutes through Alexandros Tziolis's first international goal. The Real Racing Club midfielder scored with a powerful header from Giorgos Fotakis's pinpoint free-kick. Ecuador levelled just before the hour when Édison Méndez crossed from the left and the unmarked Frickson Erazo nodded past Stefanos Kotsolis. PAOK FC striker Stefanos Athanasiadis made his debut as a 64th-minute replacement for Kostas Mitroglou.
Japan 0-0 Czech Republic
Michal Bílek's side played out a second successsive goalless draw in their tri-nation tournament. After earning his side a point against Peru on Saturday, goalkeeper Petr Čech starred again in Yokohama, saving from a Shinji Okazaki header and Tadanari Lee's follow-up in the 78th minute. Earlier, home defender Maya Yoshida missed an open goal against a Czech side fielding an experimental lineup.
Australia 0-0 Serbia
Melbourne was the venue for Serbia's first ever game in Oceania, a rematch of the sides' 2010 FIFA World Cup group game in Nelspruit. Serbia could not gain revenge for that 2-1 loss, but did have the better chances with Adem Ljajić, Zoran Tošić and Ranko Despotović all going close. Captain Dejan Stanković made his 98th appearance, and is now just four short of Serbian record-holder Savo Milošević.
Russia 0-0 Cameroon
Dick Advocaat's side won 3-1 against Albania on Saturday but, despite dominating once more, were foiled in Salzburg. Roman Pavlyuchenko, a hat-trick scorer at the weekend, was on the bench, meaning a start for Pavel Pogrebnyak, who spurned a fine chance early on. Despite enjoying more possession, Russia were almost beaten with 11 minutes left, Aurélien Chedjou's header hitting the bar with keeper Vyacheslav Malafeev well beaten. Alan Dzagoev missed a presentable chance late on.
Venezuela 0-3 Spain
The intense heat in Puerto de la Cruz proved no problem for Spain as they followed up their 4-0 win over the United States last weekend by beating Venezuela. David Villa put the world and European champions on course for another victory with a spectacular free-kick from 35 metres after seven minutes. The lively Villa then combined with Pedro for his FC Barcelona colleague to double the lead with a low shot before Xabi Alonso completed the scoring from another free-kick just before the break.
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