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Messi gives Argentina win over Brazil

sports Updated: Nov 18, 2010 09:01 IST

AP
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Lionel Messi secured a 1-0 friendly win for Argentina over traditional rival Brazil on Wednesday, while World Cup holder Spain slumped to a 4-0 defeat at Portugal.

While Messi justified his status as the best player in the world with an injury-time solo goal that clinched Argentina's first win over its neighbor in six meetings, Spain conceded four goals for the second time since winning the World Cup.

Carlos Martins, an own-goal by Sergio Ramos, Helder Postiga and Hugo Almeida gave the home side victory in Lisbon. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar gave World Cup runner-up the Netherlands a 1-0 win over Turkey, and France outclassed England 2-1 with a goal in each half at Wembley.

Italy's experimental lineup needed an 82nd-minute own-goal by Ciprian Marica to salvage a 1-1 draw against Romania in a match marred by racist taunts directed at Azzurri forward Mario Balotelli. A youthful Germany team failed to unlock host Sweden as defenses dominated in a 0-0 draw, while the United States beat South Africa 1-0.

Argentina and Brazil looked to be heading for a scoreless draw in Doha, Qatar, after 90 minutes of a match more notable for the occasional rough challenge and bad-tempered reaction than the skills of Ronaldinho and Messi.

But the diminutive Argentine collected possession midway inside Brazil's half, beat four opponents and scored with a low shot into the right corner.

"Messi means everything to us," Argentina coach Sergio Batista. "He showed why he's the best player in the world."