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International round-up

Klose and Toni on target in national colours

With the European championships barely five months away, Germany recorded a victory in the first international friendly of the year with a vastly improved second-half display to beat Euro 2008 joint hosts Austria 3-0 in front of a 48,000 crowd in Vienna. Former Bayern youth Thomas Hitzlsperger (53), Munich goal-getter Miroslav Klose (63) and Mario Gomez (80) scored the goals for a weakened Germany line-up.

“We can’t be happy with the first half, but we were better in the second half and played some good football,“ commented Philipp Lahm, who joined Bastian Schweinsteiger and Klose in covering the full match distance. The Bayern left-back remained critical of his side’s display. “Our movement, especially going forward, didn’t work out at all in the first half.“

Poldi provides assist

Bayern fans were delighted to see Lukas Podolski make a first competitive appearance of the year after recovering from a slipped disc. Poldi came on as a 59th minute substitute in a left midfield berth, contributing the assist for Gomez’s strike ten minutes from time.

Bundesliga leading scorer Luca Toni also added his name to the scoresheet on Wednesday evening as Italy defeated Portugal 3-1 in Zurich. Toni fired the World Cup holders into the lead on the stroke of half-time, before Pirlo doubled the advantage on 51 minutes. Quaresma (77) cut the arrears for the Portuguese, but Quagliarella (79) struck 30 seconds after coming on as a sub to seal the win.

No joy for Altintop and Sagnol

Hamit Altintop appeared for the first 61 minutes of Turkey’s meeting with Sweden in Istanbul, although the game was a disappointment and finished scoreless. Over in Malaga, Willy Sagnol’s first France outing in eleven months ended in defeat as Spain defender Joan Capdevila sent a 30,000 crowd into raptures with the only goal of the game after 82 minutes. Sagnol completed the full match distance.

Finally, winter signing Breno was a member of the senior Brazil squad for the friendly against Ireland in Dublin. The Selecao, without injured captain Lucio, won the match courtesy of Robinho’s fine 67th minute finish, but the new Bayern man failed to come off the bench