Grifo scores twice for Italy: Argentina warms up for the World Cup

Grifo scores twice for Italy
Argentina is warming up for the World Cup

While the German national soccer team is delivering a less than edifying World Cup dress rehearsal, co-favorite Argentina is already well prepared a few days before the start of the tournament: the team around superstar Lionel Messi clearly wins.

Led by captain Lionel Messi, title co-favourites Argentina clearly won the last friendly before the World Cup. The Albiceleste are unbeaten in 36 games after beating the United Arab Emirates 5-0 (4-0) in Abu Dhabi. Another unbeaten game would see the Argentines equal Italy’s record of 37 straight games unbeaten. The Squadra Azzurra, who failed to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar, had gone almost three years unbeaten from October 2018. The Argentines conceded their last defeat to date in July 2019.

Against the United Arab Emirates, coached by Argentinian Rodolfo Arruabarrena, Julian Alvarez took the lead in the 17th minute on a template from Messi, Angel di Maria (25th/36th) with a remarkable brace and Messi (44th) with a right-footed shot in the angle increased before the break. Then Joaquín Correa met (60th). Argentina will face Saudi Arabia in their World Cup opener on November 22, while other group opponents are Mexico and Poland.

Argentina’s group opponents Croatia won their last friendly thanks to a goal by substitute Bundesliga striker Andrej Kramaric. The TSG 1899 Hoffenheim attacker scored the decisive goal in the 1-0 win against Saudi Arabia in the 82nd minute on Wednesday. However, the team around midfield star Luka Modric struggled for a long time in the game in the Saudi capital Riyadh. The outsider, who is also at the World Cup, missed two big chances in the second half. Modric himself was only substituted on in the 65th minute. Right-back Josip Stanisic from Bayern Munich was also in Croatia’s starting XI.

Loaned Hertha striker scores for Poland

The Polish national team won their preparatory game against Chile with difficulty 1:0 (0:0). Krzysztof Piatek, on loan from Hertha BSC to Italian Serie A club US Salernitana, scored the goal of the day in the 85th minute. Poland national coach Czeslaw Michniewicz did without stars Robert Lewandowski (FC Barcelona) and Piotr Zielinski (SSC Napoli) in the starting XI in Warsaw on Wednesday. Poland will play their World Cup opener against Mexico on Tuesday. The other preliminary round opponents are Saudi Arabia (November 26) and Argentina (November 30). Chile does not qualify for the World Cup.

With Ellyes Skhiri from Bundesliga club 1. FC Köln in the starting XI, Tunisia won its World Cup dress rehearsal. The 2004 African champions defeated Iran 2-0 (0-0) in ar-Rayyan/Qatar. Naim Sliti (86′, penalty) and Ali Abdi (90′) scored the goals. Tunisia will start the World Cup against Denmark on November 22nd. Other opponents in Group D are defending champions France and Australia. The Iranians start the tournament on November 21 against England. USA and Wales complete Group B. Mexico lost their last pre-season game 2-1 to Sweden. In the Estadi Montilivi in ​​Girona, Spain, Marcus Rohden (54th minute) and Mattias Svanberg (84th), who plays for VfL Wolfsburg, scored the Swedish goals. Alexis Vega had provided the interim compensation (60th).

European champions Italy, who did not qualify for the World Cup in Qatar, celebrated victory in the penultimate friendly of the year thanks to a brace from Freiburg’s Vincenzo Grifo. The Squadra Azzurra won 3-1 (2-1) against Albania in Tirana. Giovanni Di Lorenzo (20′) and Grifo (25’/64′) scored for Italy with his third and fourth goals in seven internationals. Ardian Ismajli (16th) had given Albania the lead.

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