Ghana, Australia earn surprise results in Tuesday’s international action

Gyan (Reuters Pictures)

By JOHN BOSCHINI

Any long-time soccer fan knows better than to put a lot of stock into international friendlies but, even so, fans of Ghana and Australia will be happy with their positive results against a couple of traditional European powerhouses.

A last-gasp equalizer from Asamoah Gyan gave the Black Stars a 1-1 draw against an understrengthed England side at Wembley. Andy Carroll opened the scoring and his England account with a blistering shot into the bottom corner in the 43rd minute.

England goalkeeper Joe Hart kept the home side in the game, but Ghana, which was playing in front of 21,000 traveling supporters, eventually found a breakthrough. Gyan, whose extra-time goal knocked the United States out of the World Cup, used some fancy footwork to work himself into the area and beat a screened Hart with a left-footed shot to the far post to earn the draw.

Australia continued its impressive run of form under new coach Holger Oscieck with a 2-1 victory in Germany in a World Cup group stage rematch. Germany thrashed the Socceroos, 4-0, in Durban last summer and took an early lead courtesy of a Mario Gomez strike. Germany should have extended its lead by halftime, but Australia's defense managed to hold.

The visitors turned a deficit into a lead in a three-minute span midway through the second half. A nifty back heel from Matt McKay put David Carney clear in on goal, and the Blackpool defender made no mistake on the breakaway. Harry Kewell was brought down just inside the penalty area just three minutes later, and Luke Wilshere's ensuing penalty kick secured the unlikely victory.

Goals from Giuseppe Rossi and Alessandro Matri gave 10-man Italy a simple 2-0 win over Ukraine. Rossi opened the scoring just before the half-hour mark with a close-range effort. Ukraine was given some hope when Davide Astori recieved a second yellow card, but Matri's late goal sealed the result

The Netherlands was pushed to the end but had enough firepower to earn a 5-3 victory over Hungary in 2012 European Championship qualifying. Robin Van Persie opened the scoring for the Dutch after just 13 minutes before second-half goals from Gergely Rudolf and Zoltan Gera gave Hungary a surprising lead. Goals from Wesley Sneijder and Ruud van Nistelrooy put Holland ahead before Gera drew Hungary level again with 15 minutes left. Finally, the Dutch pulled away with a double from Dirk Kuyt in the final 15 minutes.

Defending world champion Spain survived a minor scare when Lithuania held a 1-1 draw into the last 20 minutes, but an own goal and a Juan Manuel Mata strike ensured a 3-1 victory on a dodgy pitch.

Russia and Qatar battled to a 1-1 draw in a matchup of 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosts. Mohammed Kasola put Qatar in the third minute, but Roman Pavlyuchenko equalized before halftime.

Argentina finished up its North American tour with a scoreless draw against Costa Rica. Lionel Messi did not play after going a full 90 minutes against the United States on Saturday.

Mexico conceded a late goal but still managed to earn a 1-1 draw against Venezuela. Aldo De Nigris put Mexico up just before the hour mark before Oswaldo Vicarrondo equalized 15 minutes before time.

Here are results from all of Tuesday's international action:

EURO 2012 QUALIFIERS

Turkey 2, Austria 0
Belgium 4, Azerbaijan 1
Estonia 1, Serbia 1
Northern Ireland 0, Slovenia 0
Romania 3, Luxembourg 1
Sweden 2, Moldova 1
Netherlands 5, Hungary 3
Israel 1, Georgia 0
Czech Republic 2, Liechtenstein 0
Spain 3, Lithuania 1

INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLIES

Japan vs. New Zealand, postponed
South Korea vs. Montenegro, postponed
China 3, Honduras 0
Canada 1, Belarus 0
Qatar 1, Russia 1
Ecuador 0, Peru 0
Bulgaria 1, Cyprus 0
Denmark 2, Slovakia 1
Chile 2, Colombia 0
Greece 0, Poland 0
Australia 2, Germany 1
Uruguay 3, Ireland 2
Italy 2, Ukraine 0
France 0, Croatia 0
England 1, Ghana 1
Portugal 2, Finland 0
Paraguay 1, USA 0
Costa Rica 0, Argentina 0
Mexico 1, Venezuela 1

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What did you think of Tuesday's results? Would you label Ghana as the best team in Africa? Impressed with Australia's performance? What do you think about Rossi's impressive run for Italy?

Share your thoughts below.

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13 Responses to Ghana, Australia earn surprise results in Tuesday’s international action

  1. Taylor says:

    i know this is way off topic, but is there any sort of “Zonal Marking” type of site for the USMNT with in depth tactical analysis and chalkboards and passing heat maps and stuff like that for each game? i can get a feel for a game just watching it, but i really like seeing all of the little stats clearly displayed in front of me. does anyone know of a site like that?

    or, just anywhere where i can find those chalkboards and stuff myself?

  2. Myles B says:

    Canada movin on up!!!!

  3. chupacabra says:

    Why is Ghana’s draw against England a surprise? England sucks.

  4. dman says:

    Costa Rica also tying Argentina

  5. AL17 says:

    I agree with you and have felt this way before last year’s World Cup about England. However, you and I both know the luv for England on these and other boards by fellow Americans tends to jade alot of people’s perceptions when it comes to England. I’ll never understand why something so obvious continues to be ignored by the masses. I dunno whipping on the likes of Wales qualifies them for being a World Powa in Football, yet our barely losing to Brazil in a Confeds Final and being one of the few teams to beat Spain in the past few years or a couple of draws against Argentina continue to be overlooked. Makes my head hurt trying to follow the logic.

  6. alexalex says:

    I don’t know why everyone complains about the international break. Yesterday had a great bunch of games to watch. England-Ghana was one of the most exciting friendlies I have seen in a while, and believe it or not, Netherlands-Hungary was a great game too. England’s 4-3-3 is looking pretty good, too.

  7. John says:

    Agreed. If Kevin Prince would have played, I could have even seen Ghana winning this game. They are the best African team at the moment so hardly a surprise that England drew against a team that was a PK away from the semifinals of the World Cup.

  8. DanO says:

    I’m not sure if England sucks so bad or if Ghana is just that good. They were a miracle handball away from being World Cup semifinalists, and made it out of their group the previous cup. Not to mention they have very good players playing and contributing in top leagues. If the US had Ghana’s resume at the last two cups and players contributing on teams like Ghana does, we’d be ecstatic. Let’s give credit where credit is due.

  9. Charles says:

    I think England are even odds to win the next WCup…..Get your bets in now !

    So many bet on them to WIN the WCup last time, they were one of the favorites !?!?

    I don’t get it either AL17.

  10. AL17 says:

    England really is that bad. We’ve got a much, much recent better record than they do against top competition and actually, we’ve, i.e. USA, been more competitive. England has very good non English players playing in their top league. English players are akin to Mexican players and don’t normally play outside of England. Those whom do, historically haven’t been successful. David Beckham is one of the few in the history of English Football who’s not only performed well outside of England but he’s won titles abroad. Not many English players are getting the chance they need to develop and it’s killing their National Team. Ghana is good but England is really that bad. I’m giving credit where it’s due with my opinion of England’s national team.

  11. Paula says:

    Uh, yeah, not a surprise at all. And the Black Stars are missing 2 of their best available NT players.

  12. DomiNate says:

    Ghana beating England would have been no surprise, let alone a draw. I wouldn’t say England sucks but they are definitely under achievers.

    The surprise of the round for me was Croatia’s loss to Georgia. Very depressing, #9 loses to #72 in FIFA rankings.

  13. Brent McD says:

    Giuseppe who?