Maradona off to a winning start

MAXIMUM IMPACT: Maxi Rodriguez (air-borne) celebrating his goal that clinched the match for Argentina against Scotland.

MAXIMUM IMPACT: Maxi Rodriguez (air-borne) celebrating his goal that clinched the match for Argentina against Scotland.   | Photo Credit: — PHOTO: AP

Terry scores England’s winner against Germany

LONDON: Maxi Rodriguez gave Diego Maradona a winning start as Argentina coach in a 1-0 victory over Scotland and John Terry atoned for a blunder to head England to a 2-1 victory over Germany in international football on Wednesday. And, Brazil crushed Portugal 6-2, in the slate of friendlies.

At Glasgow, Maxi finished off a slick move in the eighth minute after a run and cross by Carlos Tevez and flick-on by Jonas Gutierrez.

Maradona, who has been hired to turn Argentina’s talented players into a team capable of winning the World Cup, spun around and punched the air to celebrate the victory, which was achieved despite the absence of rested stars Lionel Messi and Juan Roman Riquelme.

‘A new era’

“We think it is a new era and it was very important to win,” said midfielder Javier Mascherano, who was named captain by Maradona.

Both of England’s goals in Berlin came from central defenders.

Matthew Upson prodded home in the 23rd minute after Germany goalkeeper Rene Adler missed Stewart Downing’s corner.

Germany punished a mix-up between Terry and goalkeeper Scott Carson and Patrick Helmes equalised in the 63rd minute, but the England captain made up by heading home a free kick in the 84th.

Fabiano ’tricks

Luis Fabiano’s hat-trick powered Brazil to its biggest win over Portugal, a 6-2 rout outside Brasilia.

The win was a reprieve for embattled Brazil coach Dunga, whose team had been held scoreless in three consecutive home games in World Cup qualifying.

In another of the 23 friendlies spread across Europe, European champion Spain cruised to a 3-0 victory over Chile to improve its unbeaten streak to 28 matches, World Cup holder Italy hit back to draw 1-1 at Greece, and France was held to a 0-0 draw at home by Uruguay.

The results:

In Berlin: Germany 1 (Helmes 63) lost to England 2 (Upson 23, Terry 84). In Piraeus: Greece 1 (Gekas 50) drew with Italy 1 (Toni 54). In Amsterdam: Holland 3 (van Persie 32, 48, Kuyt 90+2) bt Sweden 1 (Kallstrom 49). In Paris: France 0 drew with Uruguay 0. In Glasgow: Scotland 0 lost to Argentina 1 (Rodriguez 8). In Belgrade: Serbia 6 (Jovanovic 9, 27, Milosevic 28, 34, Milijas 57, Lazovic 67) bt Bulgaria 1 (Georgiev 20). In Podgorica: Montenegro 2 (Dzudovic 24, Jovetic 33) bt Macedonia 1 (Popov 85). In Ta’Qali: Malta 0 lost to Iceland 1 (Helguson 65). In Nicosia: Cyprus 2 (Christofi 29, Avraam 48) bt Belarus 1 (Kovel 55). In Tel Aviv: Israel 2 (Barda 18, Golan 24) drew with Ivory Coast 2 (Stroul 32-og, Sanogo 85). In Bratislava: Slovakia 4 (Hamsik 43, 72, Vittek 75, Jez 90) bt Liechtenstein 0. In Baku: Azerbaijan 1 (Subasic 4) drew with Albania 1 (Bakaj 11). In Tallinn: Moldova 1 (Bugaiov 69) drew with Lithuania 1 (Savenas 72-pen). In Dnepropetrovsk: Ukraine 1 (Seleznev 26-pen) bt Norway 0. In Accra: Ghana 0 drew with Tunisia 0. In Cairo: Egypt 5 (Rabou 20-pen, Moteab 27, 41, Aboutrika 43, Terika 74) bt Benin 1 (Omotoyossi 85). In Bucharest: Romania 2 (Marica 62, Goian 70) bt Georgia 1 (Martsvaladze 12). In Rustenburg: South Africa 3 (Teko Modise 7, 24, Bernard Parker 82) bt Cameroon 2 (Daniel Kome 28, Somen Tchoyi 36).

In Copenhagen: Denmark 0 lost to Wales 1 (Bellamy 77). In Muscat: Oman 0 lost to Paraguay 1 (Vera 37). In Belfast: Northern Ireland 0 lost to Hungary 2 (Torghelle 57, Gera 71). In Dublin: Republic of Ireland 2 (Hunt 88-pen, Andrews 90) lost to Poland 3 (M. Lewandowski 3, Roger 47, R. Lewandowski 89).

In Vienna: Austria 2 (Holzl 28, 53) lost to Turkey 4 (Aurelio 38, Tuncay 41, 47, 61). In Maribor: Slovenia 3 (Koren 27, Novakovic 64-pen, 75) lost to Bosnia-Herzegovina 4 (Ibisevic 2, 63, Misimovic 13, Dzeko 53). In Luxembourg: Luxembourg 1 (Mutsch 47) drew with Belgium 1 (Mirallas 23). In St Gallen: Switzerland 1 bt (Ziegler 84) Finland 0. — Agencies

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