Italy held; Kader scores for Togo

Lippi starts with Alessandro Del Piero, Luca Toni and Alberto Gilardino in attackLarsson not concerned about Sweden's failure to win since October

LONDON: Germany eased its homeland's worries by thumping Colombia 3-0 while Italy and Sweden were stuck with draws in World Cup warmups on Friday.

The Germans were masterful and entertaining in Moenchengladbach, overwhelming Colombia a week before they kick off the World Cup against Costa Rica. Italy and fellow qualifier Ukraine went scoreless in Lausanne, Switzerland, and Sweden conceded a 1-1 result to Chile to extend its winless run to six matches.

Elsewhere, Togo defeated host Liechtenstein 1-0, Angola lost to Turkey 3-2 in the Netherlands, and Tunisia lost to Uruguay in a penalty shootout after drawing 0-0.

Only three days after a morale-sapping draw with Japan, Germany's likely starting 11 for the World Cup opener played with polish and poise.

Ballack's opener

Bastian Schweinsteiger set up Michael Ballack's opening goal in the 21st minute, and then scored himself from a free kick in the 37th. Substitute Tim Borowski made it 3-0 in the 69th in Germany's final tuneup.

``Two years of preparations came to an end today and we are pleased,'' coach Juergen Klinsmann said. ``We played tactically very well and the team worked very well together. The most important thing was to finish our preparations in a positive way and that we can go into the opening game full of confidence.''

Colombia beat Poland, one of Germany's Group A rivals, three days ago. Germany picked Colombia for the last friendly because it resembles Ecuador, the third team in its group.

Italy's final friendly produced its second draw in three days, though a slightly better performance than against Switzerland.

With Francesco Totti still working his way back into top form following leg surgery, Italy coach Marcello Lippi started Alessandro Del Piero, Luca Toni and Alberto Gilardino in attack the likely trio for the Azzurri's World Cup opener if Totti is not ready.

They produced chances in the first half but no goals, and Toni and Del Piero were replaced in the 59th by Filippo Inzaghi and Totti, and a tired-looking Italy sat back.

Suazo equalises

In Stockholm, Henrik Larsson scored on a free kick for Sweden's first goal in four friendlies, and Humberto Suazo equalised in the second half for Chile.

Larsson said he wasn't concerned about Sweden's failure to win a match since October because he and Sweden's other stars hadn't played in most of them.

In Vaduz, Sochaux striker Kougbadja Kader scored in the 55th for Togo to edge Liechtenstein 1-0.

The results: Germany 3 (Ballack 20, Schweinsteiger 37, Borowski 69) bt Colombia 0; Sweden 1 (Larsson 32) drew with Chile 1 (Suazo 51); Togo 1 (Kader 55) bt Liechtenstein 0; Italy 0 drew with Ukraine 0; Turkey 3 (Necati 53, Nihat 71, Altintop 84) bt Angola 2 (Akwa 32, Love 83). AP

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