Argentina lifted the pressure on coach Diego Maradona with a 1-0 victory away to Germany and Spain heaped more on Raymond Domenech with a 2-0 triumph in France on a big night of friendlies building up to the World Cup.
Gonzalo Higuain scored the only goal in first half injury time in Munich as Maradona’s team showed it may have left its poor form in World Cup qualifying behind.
Goals by David Villa and Sergio Ramos gave European champions Spain a comfortable victory over the French at the Stade de France where some of the home fans called for Domenech’s resignation.
Like Argentina, France struggled to get to the World Cup and needed a blatant Thierry Henry handball in a playoff match against Ireland to get there.
Two goals from Peter Crouch helped England to a come from behind victory over Egypt, the African champions which failed to qualify for the World Cup.
After Mohammed Zidan had stunned England with a 24th minute goal, two second half goals from Crouch with a strike by Shaun Wright-Phillips in between gave Fabio Capello’s team victory after they had been booed off the Wembley pitch at halftime.
The Netherlands beat the United States 2-1 in a meeting of two more World Cup teams in which the Americans lost winger Stuart Holden with a bruised shin in the first half.
Dirk Kuyt gave the Dutch the lead with a 39th minute penalty after Jonathan Bernstein had tugged Wesley Sneijder’s shirt and Klaas Huntelaar added a second in the 72nd minute. Carlos Bocanegra replied for the Americans in the 88th minute.
World Cup holders Italy were held to a 0-0 draw by Cameroon with both sides fielding experimental line-ups in Monte Carlo.