Villa and Ramos on target as Spain too good for France

SPAIN gave further proof of why they are one of the favourites for World Cup glory this summer after seeing off France 2-0 in Paris last night to continue their run of form.

The Euro 2008 winners deservedly clinched their first win over their northern neighbours on French soil – in their first game since the controversial play-off with Ireland – since 1968 thanks to first-half goals from David Villa and Sergio Ramos.

Meanwhile, Motherwell defender Stephen Craigan should have been celebrating his first goals for Northern Ireland in his 46th international appearance last night.

Instead his luck was out in this 1-0 defeat to Albania as he saw both efforts come back off the woodwork in the second half as his side chased the game in Tirana.

Elsewhere, Kris Boyd ended his self-imposed Scotland exile but it was Scott Brown who was the unlikely goal hero as Craig Levein claimed a win from his first game as Scotland manager.

Brown grabbed the only goal of the game against Czech Republic to hand the Scots their first friendly win at Hampden since victory over Australia back in 1996.

In Swansea, Bolton striker Johan Elmander stunned Wales with a brilliant winner for Sweden in last night’s 1-0 international friendly win.

Elmander, who has scored just twice in the Premier League this season, showed quality rarely seen at the Reebok Stadium with a fine strike on the stroke of half-time.

Dirk Kuyt and Klaas Jan Huntelaar grabbed the goals as Holland beat fellow World Cup qualifiers the United States 2-1 in Amsterdam.

Kuyt opened the scoring from the spot five minutes before half-time after Wesley Sneijder was fouled and substitute Huntelaar made it two with a deflected strike in the 73rd minute.

There was something for the Americans to cheer as captain Carlos Bocanegra grabbed a late consolation goal, their first against Holland.

Italy coach Marcello Lippi’s experimental line-up failed to deliver as the Azzurri were held to a goalless draw by Cameroon. Lippi used the friendly in Monte Carlo to try out some of his fringe players and despite his team dominating the encounter, they were unable to find the finishing touch.

In Munich, a goal from Gonzalo Higuain on the stroke of half-time earned Argentina a 1-0 win over a disappointing Germany.

The Real Madrid striker pounced on the first of several errors by Germany goalkeeper Rene Adler, who failed to justify his nomination as the national team’s new number one.

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