Ukraine lead the charge in warm-ups
Despite missing Shevchenko, the Ukrainians vanquished Costa Rica 4-0. FIFA Rewind : Argentina 1978 WC | Picturesindia Updated: May 31, 2006 03:10 IST
Ukraine was the only team headed to the World Cup that looked like it may be ready for the tournament to begin. Despite missing the injured Andriy Shevchenko, the Ukrainians easily beat qualifiers Costa Rica 4-0 on Sunday.
Serhiy Nazarenko, Andriy Vorobei, Maxim Kalinichenko and Olexiy Belik all scored for Ukraine. Four other World Cup teams also played on Sunday, with the US beating Latvia 1-0, Croatia and Iran drawing 2-2, and Ecuador losing to Macedonia 2-1. Also, Estonia and Turkey drew 1-1, and Mali beat Morocco 1-0.
Nazarenko gave Ukraine the lead in the 29th minute in Kiev by knocking in a rebound off Costa Rica goalkeeper Wardy Alfaro. Vorobei scored the second goal in the 35th off a pass from Vladyslav Vashchyuk, and Kalinichenko made it 3-0 in the 40th.
Belik scored the final goal in the 56th with help from Andriy Husin. Ukraine, playing in Group H at the World Cup with Spain, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia, was without Shevchenko because he hurt his knee earlier this month. He was expected to recover in time for the team's first match against Spain on June 14.
Before that, the team has more friendlies against Italy, Libya and Luxembourg.
Costa Rica, which is in Group A with Germany, Poland and Ecuador, will face the hosts in the opener on June 9 in Munich. Brian McBride tipped in a cross from Steve Cherundolo for the Americans’ only goal against Latvia two minutes before halftime in East Hartford, Connecticut.
It was McBride's 30th goal in 92 internationals, and left him four shy of matching the American record.
The US leave for Germany on Thursday, play Angola on June 5 in Hamburg, then meet the Czech Republic in their Cup opener on June 12 in Gelsenkirchen.
In Osijek, Croatia, Marko Babic convert ed a penalty in injury time to help the hosts draw 2-2 with Iran.
Substitute Arash Borhani appeared to have given Iran a late winner in the 82nd, but Babic converted from the spot in injury time after Ivica Olic was brought down in the box by goalkeeper Ebrahim Mirzapour.
Ecuador took the lead against Macedo nia in Getafe, Spain, in the 18th minute when Carlos Tenorio beat several defenders and scored with a deft shot.
But Macedonia equalized 10 minutes later through striker Goran Maznov. Tenorio left the field with an injury in the 64th minute and Igor Mitrevski converted a penalty.