Lionel Messi missed a first-half penalty as Brazil beat Argentina 2-0 in a fiercely contested “Superclasico” friendly in Beijing on Saturday.
Journeyman Diego Tardelli was the unlikely hero with his first two goals for Brazil as Messi fluffed his lines with a tame spot-kick at the Bird’s Nest stadium.
Atletico Mineiro striker Tardelli, 29, put Brazil ahead on 28 minutes, before Messi curled his soft penalty attempt close to goalkeeper Jefferson just before half-time.
Tardelli was on target again in the second half as Brazil restored pride after the World Cup, when the hosts were hammered in the semis while Argentina reached the final.
“Brazil are the best team in the world with a great tradition,” beamed their coach Dunga, who is rebuilding following the 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat to Germany.
“We have no big players, we are now acting as one team... The whole team is evolving, including me.”
Dunga brought on former national hero Kaka for a late cameo and he indicated the Sao Paulo FC midfielder could be set for a more regular role after 18 months on the sidelines.
Giorgio Chiellini stole the show in Italy’s win over Azerbaijan while the Netherlands escaped acute embarrassment and Belgium went on a goal blitz in Euro 2016 qualifying on Friday.
New Holland manager Guus Hiddink was heading for a second successive defeat after lowly Kazakhstan took an early first half lead in Amsterdam.
But Klaas Jan Huntelaar cancelled out Russian-born defender Rinat Abdulin’s shock 17th minute opener with Ibrahim Afellay and Robin van Persie from the penalty spot ensuring potential disaster was averted.
The Dutch are placed third in Group A, three points behind the Czech Republic, who followed up their opening win against the World Cup third-placed side with a 2-1 defeat of Turkey, and Iceland, 3-0 winners in Latvia.
In Palermo, Chiellini scored all the goals in Italy’s 2-1 win over Azerbaijan to push the Azzurri on top of Group H on goal difference from Croatia, who saw off Bulgaria 1-0.
Chiellini broke the deadlock one minute from the interval, only to negate that effort with an own goal in the 77th minute.
His journey from hero back to villain back to hero was completed five minutes later when securing the winner at the end of a game where he had virtually matched his goal tally of the past seven years. The Juventus defender became the first player to score a goal and an own goal in a Euro qualifier since Fernando Hierro for Spain in 1999.