Created on 27-03-2008 at 00:00 AM
Bayern's international stars returned to Munich from a round of friendly internationals in midweek with a record of four victories, a draw and two defeats. The biggest smiles belonged to Miroslav Klose, Lukas Podolski and Franck Ribéry, who not only ended up on the winning side, but also showcased their talents in imposing style in the final tests before the naming of squads for this summer's Euro 2008.
Germany took on Euro co-hosts Switzerland in Basel and rattled up an impressive 4-0 victory, Klose opening the scoring on 23 minutes with his 38th goal for his country, thereby overtaking Oliver Bierhoff to go seventh in the German all-time scoring chart. The remaining goals in Germany's 800th senior international fixture came from VfB Stuttgart star Mario Gomez (61, 67) and 58th minute sub Podolski (89), who now has a remarkable 25 goals in 46 appearances for his country.
France down England
"We were prepared to run and we were well-organised,“ analysed Philipp Lahm, one of four Bayern men in the Germany starting line-up alongside Klose, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Marcell Jansen. With 74 days remaining until the start of hostilities this summer, the Germans restored a lot of the reputation lost in a lethargic 3-0 win against the other co-hosts Austria a short time ago. "We can get even better once we've had a decent period of time together,“ reflected Lahm, "we'll be an even better team at the Euro than we were today.“
Over in Paris, France underlined their European championship ambitions with a 1-0 victory over England, Ribéry scoring the only goal of the game from the penalty spot on 32 minutes after a foul on Nicolas Anelka. Ribéry was the most dynamic player on display in a tactical encounter at the Stade de France, where the home side were rarely threatened by a disciplined but toothless England, for whom David Beckham earned a 100th and potentially final international cap.
Wins for Lucio and Micho
Lucio emulated Ribery in completing 90 minutes on Wednesday, helping Brazil to a 1-0 success against Sweden in London. Inter hitman Pato struck for the Lucio-captained Seleção, who were without superstars Ronaldinho and Kaka. Two goals settled the issue in Cairo where Argentina took on African champions Egypt. In a low-paced match, Agüero (66) and Nicolas Burdisso (84) netted for the Gauchos, for whom Martin Demichelis featured until the 82nd minute.
Hamit Altintop spent considerably less time on the pitch for Turkey away to Belarus in Minsk. The Bayern man was forced out of the action after just 22 minutes and watched as the match ended 2-2. The home side twice took the lead through Vitali Kutuzov (34) and Aliaksandr Hleb (64), but Tuncay Sanli (37) and Tümer Metin (72) levelled for the Turks.
Toni out of luck
Bayern's losers on the night were Luca Toni and Daniel van Buyten. The Italian and his team-mates fell 1-0 to Spain in Elche, although the result was a shade harsh on the Squadra Azzurra who failed to convert a string of decent chances. Toni, who played the first half for the Italians, was unlucky to see a 12th-minute header ruled out for an alleged offence, and Mauro Camoranesi hit the bar shortly after half-time. The Spaniards' winner came from an opportunistic David Villa strike 13 minutes from time.
In Brussels, Van Buyten and Belgium fell to a sobering 4-1 home defeat against Morocco. Soufiani Alloudi (14) and Tarik Sektioui (35) struck as the Belgians turned in a dismal first half display, but the Red Devils fought back and Axel Witsel reduced the arrears on 51 minutes. However, Nabil El Zhar (83) and Abdessalam Benjelloun (90) netted in the closing stages to seal the Moroccan victory.