World Football - Spain crush USA, Dutch hold Brazil

Sat, 04 Jun 23:58:00 2011

Two goals by Santi Cazorla and one apiece from Alvaro Negredo and Fernando Torres led world champions Spain to a 4-0 rout of United States in a friendly in Foxborough.

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Spain were 3-0 up at halftime in front of a 64,121 crowd and it could have been even more after David Villa had a goal harshly disallowed for offside and Negredo clipped the crossbar.

Cazorla put them ahead in the 28th minute after David Silva was given acres of space inside the area and picked out the Villarreal midfielder.

US coach Bob Bradley opted to leave a number of regular starters on the bench and was perhaps regretting that decision when Negredo was allowed to run unchallenged through the middle and finished coolly to make it 2-0 in the 32nd minute.

Cazorla added a third goal after more good work from Negredo and Silva.

Bradley brought on Clint Dempsey, the coach's son Michael and experienced defender Steve Cherundolo at the break and that helped tighten things up.

But Spain continued to play with their characteristic precision passing and added a fourth goal in the 73rd minute through Torres, who latched on to a defence-splitting pass from Borja Valero to beat keeper Tim Howard.

The defeat was a blow to the US. who start their CONCACAF Gold Cup campaign against Canada on Tuesday, the same day as Spain play another friendly in Venezuela.

Brazil were held to a 0-0 draw by the Netherlands in a friendly in Goiania, with both goalkeepers responsible for the deadlock.

The teams' first clash since the Dutch beat Brazil 2-1 in last year's World Cup quarter-finals became bad-tempered towards the end and Brazil's Ramires was sent off in the 79th minute for a second booking after a foul on Arjen Robben.

Playing with a three-pronged attack of Neymar and Robinho either side of centre-forward Fred, Brazil had a strong second half but could not get past inspired, debutant Dutch goalkeeper Tim Krul despite creating a number of good chances.

Fred, who squandered most of them including the finish to a good move orchestrated by Neymar on the left in the 57th, left the field to boos from the fans at the Serra Dourada stadium when he was replaced by the 21-year-old Leandro Damiao.

The Dutch, without injured Inter Milan playmaker Wesley Sneijder, who scored both their goals in the 2010 meeting, had two good chances in the first half with striker Ibrahim Affelay forcing two good saves from Brazilian keeper Julio Cesar.

"We had some normal difficulties in the first half, didn't manage to mark Affelay well and gave away good chances to Holland that obliged Julio to make two excellent saves," Brazil coach Mano Menezes said.

The crowd booed when the teams came off at halftime but two good Neymar moves in less than five minutes after the break were enough to win back their support, though there were jeers again at the end.

"We improved a lot in the second half, were sharper with our marking... We created a high volume of play, very clear chances, the ball ran along the goalline but didn't go in because football's like that," Menezes added.

"Our players were very tired and we couldn't play as well as in the first half. Brazil got stronger and stronger, and sometimes you have to play in defence," Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk said.

"I think we were lucky and also had a great performance from our keeper, who was making his debut. In the end, a draw here against Brazil, for a small country like Holland, is not a bad result."

Since Menezes replaced Dunga as Brazil coach after the World Cup, Brazil had beaten the United States, Iran, Ukraine and Scotland but lost to major opponents Argentina and France.

Saturday's match was Menezes' home debut.

Brazil are warming up for the Copa America in Argentina in July. They will host Romania on Tuesday in Sao Paulo in a match that also will be the official farewell game for former World Player of the Year Ronaldo.

Reuters

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