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Germany, England head night of top friendlies

ESPN staff
August 14, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Lars Bender scores Germany's third in their friendly against Paraguay © Getty Images
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Germany twice came from behind to rescue a 3-3 draw against Paraguay on a night of pulsating international friendlies which included England's 3-2 win over Scotland.

Germany's defensive problems were exposed by Paraguay in the six-goal thriller in Kaiserslautern.

Paraguay raced into a two-goal lead with Jose Nunez and Wilson Pittoni scoring within 15 minutes, but Germany responded well with Ilkay Gundogan and Thomas Muller bringing them level within the next quarter of an hour.

Miguel Samudio then punished some slack defending once again to give Paraguay a half-time lead before Lars Bender spared Germany's blushes with an equaliser 15 minutes from time.

Friendly highlights

The talents of Gareth Bale were sorely missed as Wales and the Republic of Ireland played out the most drab of goalless draws at Cardiff City Stadium.

The visitors enjoyed the better of the contest and created the better of what chances there were, with Shane Long failing to convert two great opportunities while Robbie Brady also went close.

Craig Bellamy's second-half free-kick was as close as toothless Wales came, with Ben Davies failing to make the most of their best chance right on half-time.

Napoli new boy Gonzalo Higuain fired a warning shot to Serie A defenders everywhere as he scored one and made one in Argentina's one-sided 2-1 victory over Italy.

Higuain, a summer arrival in Naples from Real Madrid, opened the scoring in the 20th minute and then turned provider early in the second half for substitute Ever Banega.

Cristiano Ronaldo grabbed a late equaliser for Portugal in an entertaining 1-1 draw against the Netherlands in Faro.

Kevin Strootman gave the visitors a first-half lead as he converted a Jeremain Lens cross after just 17 minutes.

But Portugal dominated the second half and got the equaliser they deserved with three minutes remaining as Ronaldo scored from a Miguel Veloso corner.

A Dani Alves own goal was enough to take Switzerland past Brazil with a 1-0 win as Felipe Scolari's side lost their first match since winning the Confederations Cup.

The South American side beat world and European champions Spain in June to lift the FIFA trophy on home soil.

But although they dominated at a packed Jakob Park stadium in Basle, they failed to take their chances allowing the Swiss hosts to snatch the narrowest of wins.

Spain, however, put their Confederations Cup final defeat behind them with a 2-0 win away to Ecuador.

Despite missing a number of first-choice players, and starting with the likes of Cristian Tello, La Roja ran out comfortable winners. Alvaro Negredo struck before half-time, while Santi Cazorla confirmed the result as he doubled the lead after the break.

Belgium and France shared a goalless draw in an open game at the Stade Roi Baudouin in Brussels.

Both sides were committed to attacking although neither goalkeeper was really called into action.

The hosts carved out plenty of chances but they were profligate in front of goal, while Karim Benzema found himself in good positions but he could not convert that into goals.

Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko continued his good pre-season form with two goals for Bosnia-Herzegovina but it was not enough to prevent a 4-3 loss to the United States in Sarajevo.

Dzeko and Vedad Ibisevic put Bosnia in command but a hat-trick from new Sunderland signing Jozy Altidore after Eddie Johnson pulled one back turned the game around. Dzeko's second came in the last minute.

Macedonia, who play Wales in September and Scotland the following month, beat Bulgaria 2-0 in Skopje with late goals from Agim Ibraimi and Aleksandar Trajkovski.

Another of England's upcoming opponents, Moldova, drew 1-1 with Andorra after an equaliser from Alexandru Dedov.

Mexico cruised to a 4-1 win over the Ivory Coast thanks to an Oribe Peralta brace, Angel Reyna's strike and an own goal from Athur Boka.

El Tri hada 3-0 lead at half-time and although Didier Drogba pulled one back for the visitors from the penalty spot, Reyna sealed the win in injury time to give his side a much needed confidence boost.

Gareth Bale sat out of Wales' draw with Ireland in Cardiff © Getty Images
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