International Rewind: Argentina top Slovenia; England draw with 10-man Honduras; and more

RickyAlvarezArgentina1-Slovenia (AP)

By DAN KARELL

Lionel Messi and Ricky Alvarez gave fans of the Argentine National Team the perfect send-off in a 2-0 victory against Slovenia on Saturday evening.

Playing their final World Cup tune-up match in La Plata, Argentina, Los Albicelestes comfortably took care of business against their European opponents. Alvarez, who is aiming for a starting role at the World Cup, drove past three defenders and fired a low strike in the 12th minute to give Argentina an early lead.

Messi finished off the result in the 76th minute on a beautiful combination play between he, Sergio Aguero, who headed the ball into Messi’s path, and Angel Di Maria, who found Aguero in space in the box.

Argentina had a couple of scares as midfielder Lucas Biglia and defender Javier Mascherano both had to go off with knocks, though it seems as though the injuries are not serious.

Here are some more notes from Saturday’s international action:

ENGLAND HELD TO DRAW VS. FEISTY HONDURAS

In a scoreless draw that was stopped and delayed due to the weather, both the England National Team and Honduras National Team are likely just happy to have left Miami unscathed.

England had a few chances to score including close-range chances from Danny Welbeck and Daniel Sturridge, the latter’s strike going just wide while the former’s shot being saved by Honduras goalkeeper Noel Valladares.

Honduras right back Bryan Beckeles was sent off in the 66th minute after a dangerous mid-air challenge on Leighton Baines, earning the Honduran his second yellow card of the match. Following the game, England captain Steven Gerrard hit out at the “horrific” challenges made by Honduras players in the second half of the match.

LUKAKU LIMPS OFF AS BELGIUM BEAT TUNISIA

It took until the 89th minute for Belgium to break through Tunisia’s defense, but it was enough to secure the victory.

Belgium captain Vincent Kompany found Nacer Chadli between the lines in a late attack on goal. Chadli slipped through Dries Mertens and the substitute Napoli forward got past his defender and slotted home to give Belgium a 1-0 victory. The game finished on a sour note however as star forward Romelu Lukaku limped off with an ankle injury in second half stoppage time.

Belgium head coach Marc Wilmots has tried his best to allay fears that Lukaku would be the next big player to miss the World Cup, saying he thinks the 21-year-old will be back in training in just three or four days.

The match was also halted due to weather as the teams exited the pitch soon after a massive hail storm arrived over Brussels.

QUICK KICKS

Cameroon topped Moldova, 1-0, in their final World Cup tune-up and then agreed with the Cameroonian FA to a deal based on World Cup bonuses after threats of striking prior to the tournament. (REPORT)

Nigerian defender¬†Elderson Echiejile will miss the World Cup after suffering a muscle tear during Nigeria’s scoreless draw with Greece in Philadelphia. (REPORT)

England manager Roy Hodgson has determined that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will recover in time from a knee injury picked up in England’s friendly match against Ecuador. (REPORT)

Hungary defeated Kazakhstan in a friendly match, 3-0, with Maccabi Haifa forward Tamas Priskin scoring the game-winner. (REPORT)

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What did you think of these results? Think Argentina is primed to make a run to the World Cup final? Do you believe England are ready for their World Cup opener against Italy? Do you see Lukaku playing in Belgium’s first match against Algeria?

Share your thoughts below.

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24 Responses to International Rewind: Argentina top Slovenia; England draw with 10-man Honduras; and more

  1. chg says:

    Horrific challenges? Just be glad you weren’t in Central America. Welcome to life against the “minnows” of CONCACAF.

    • Jack says:

      I saw some where Sturridge was hit with a beer can as well,

      • Drew11 says:

        I wonder if Michael Bradley would rather have beer can throwing Hondurans at his matches rather than USMNT supporters who “don’t know soccer”?

        • Bitman says:

          With respect to the abilities of Jozy Altidore, Bradley is 100% spot on. He’s far and away the best striker on the US squad. He has so many more elements to his game than any other that can be mentioned.

      • chg says:

        European squads see a couple of these nations every four years minus the CONCACAF refs and terrible homefields and dismiss them as jokes. And in those circumstances they are generally correct. But we don’t get to face them with world class officiating, fields, and safety guarantees. In the circumstances we encounter, they are opponents capable of stealing results, sometimes quite literally. The Euro teams and fans will never understand that, but the Euro-snob American faction should.

        • Caxamarca says:

          you are spot on chg, I’ll add that these teams also play technical soccer. Europe is full of fodder for the big teams- San Marino, Cyprus, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Faroe Islands, Kazakhstan, Moldova to name a sampling…

        • Zocklo says:

          Stupid of England to even schedule Honduras.
          Honduras has one of the highest murder rates in the world, so dangerous tackles are creampuff compared to every day life in the Central American country.

          • Diego's Maradoughnuts says:

            If I were in that group, I’d schedule a tour of the region. Costa Rica and Uruguay will give them more of the same.

    • Kor says:

      Amen. CONCACAF gets little respect from the rest of the world, especially FIFA. The lack of quality officials and safe venues for visiting teams and fans should be a priority, In my opinion, many European teams would have a hard time slogging through a World Cup campaign, given the conditions. Some of the minnows can bite, especially at home.

    • Ted Tran says:

      LOL so much truth. These little guys wouldn’t survive in Concacaf qualifying.

  2. Diego's Maradoughnuts says:

    Soon as I saw the draw, first thought was…. team among Italy/England/Uruguay that does not make it out is the team that underestimated Costa Rica (ahem… England this means you). Looks like we didn’t scare them enough last time… they had best get the hint now or else start scouting CONCACAF a little harder.

    • Maykol says:

      England will crash out not because they underestimated Costa Rica, but because they did not get enough points to be amongst the top two in the group. See here you turd, if they had underestimated Costa Rica, then why schedule a game with Honduras? You disappoint again.

      • ZWorst says:

        Aww. you are so cute Fake Maykol! Good job! It’s a pity Baptista couldn’t join us this weekend. Must have been a rough one for him . I’ve been trying to get a hold of him but I heard he got grounded by his kids…. Do you think Ztom or Ted Tran would know? Maybe Expat?

        • Maykol says:

          I know man, i thought this guy would have gotten bored by now, but apparently he loves being Maykol, good eye spotting him out though

  3. Blaine says:

    If Gerard wants to come to MLS he’d better get used to horrific challenges.

  4. bizzy says:

    The beauty about the world cup….”Anybody can be beaten at any given time, all it takes is one bad game”……Wow, its results like this that give me hope for the USMNT.
    England cant score on Honduras 0-0
    Portugal struggle to beat Mexico (yes struggle) without Ronaldo 1-0
    US convincingly beat African powerhouse Nigeria 2-1
    Brazil vs Serbia 1-0
    Italy vs Luxemburg 1-1
    Germany vs Cameroon 1-1
    Got to love the “beautiful game”!!!!

    • Jack says:

      Then France beat Jamaica 8-0

      • bizzy says:

        HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA……..Thanks Jack

        • Jack says:

          I didn’t see the match but also I haven’t heard of anyone on that Jamaican team. It certainly wasn’t a first team but still kind of brutal haha.

    • JCC says:

      Friendly results are meaningless. Friendly results before a World Cup are even moreso.

      • Brain Guy says:

        Tell that to the hundreds of commenters on this site after every US friendly.

        • NC Jeff says:

          Well … most of the commenters are fans … fans are fanatics. So, what do you expect, rationality? Seriously, if think this is bad, geez, go to real more soccer-mad country … like Mexico last year.

          • Brain Guy says:

            I express no view as to whether it’s good or bad, but rather am just noting that “results in friendlies are meaningless” may not be a universally accepted point – especially around here . . .