INTERNATIONALS: MALOUDA MAKES A DIFFERENCE

Posted on: Fri 30 Mar 2012

Gary Cahill and Florent Malouda were goalscorers on a Wednesday night of international friendlies across Europe, but with contrasting results.

At Wembley, Cahill netted the second goal of his short England career to help his side back into a match in which they trailed 2-0, only for the Netherlands to win it 3-2 in stoppage time.

Cahilll was the only Chelsea player to start what proved to be a tight encounter and headed an early chance narrowly over. He was joined on the pitch during the first half by Daniel Sturridge when Steven Gerrard lasted only 32 minutes and the Chelsea striker had a shot saved soon after the restart with the game still scoreless.

An experimental England then conceded two goals in two minutes before the hour mark, the first a counter-attack by Arjen Robben, before Sturridge could have pulled one back but did not make good contact when found in space at the far post.

In fact it was Cahill who began the late response when he stayed forward and collected a pass with a hint of offside about him, finishing well with 85 minutes played.

Cahill

Ashley Young then levelled it at 2-2, only for Robben to score his second goal via a deflection off Cahill's shoulder.

Sturridge, who was named England's man of the match, was not on the pitch by that stage having limped off in the closing moments. Ashley Cole was an unused sub, as was Jeffrey Bruma for the Dutch.

Florent Malouda's goal proved to be the winner for France in Germany.He began on the bench but was introduced on 62 minutes and doubled the French lead nine minutes later with a close-range right-foot shot. The Germans made it 2-1 with a consolation goal at the very end. Malouda's goal was his eighth at international level on his 74th appearance.

Czech Republic Player of the Year Petr Cech took his place between the posts for his country away in Ireland but was denied a win and a clean sheet when he was beaten by West Brom's Simon Cox in the 86th minute. The game ended Republic of Ireland 1 Czech Republic 1.

Raul Meireles played for Portugal away against Euro 2012 joint-hosts Poland. The game ended goalless.

Romelu Lukaku was a half-time sub for Belgium, replacing Eden Hazard in an away match in Greece. Thibaut Courtois and Kevin De Bruyne remained on the Belgian bench. Both goals in a 1-1 draw came in the first half.

Juan Mata also stayed on the bench as Spain ran out 5-0 winners at home to Venezuela.

On-loan Yossi Benayoun played the first half of a 3-2 home defeat for Israel against Ukraine, the other Euro 2012 hosts. He was replaced by former Chelsea striker Ben Sahar.

Dropping down an age level and Josh McEachran played the whole of England Under 21s' impressive 4-0 win over Belgium in Middlesbrough. As well as contributing to England's attacking moves, our on-loan midfielder helped his side keep a clean sheet by clearing off the line late on. The win moves the England side seven points clear in their qualification group for the next European Under 21 Championships.

Patrick van Aanholt helped Netherlands Under 21s to a clean sheet in Scotland as the game ended 0-0. The Dutch are one point ahead of Scotland in their group.

Tomas Kalas played all 90 minutes of the Czech Under 21 side's 3-0 friendly win away in Romania.