Pearce still has heart on England job despite defeat

Stuart Pearce’s first game as England’s interim manager ended in defeat as Holland’s Arjen Robben scored an injury-time winner during a crazy climax to last night’s friendly international at Wembley.

Holland struck twice in two minutes early in the second half through Robben and substitute Klaas-Jan Huntelaar. Gary Cahill and Ashley Young looked to have salvaged a draw for England by netting twice in the last three minutes but Robben curled home a Dutch winner in injury time.

Pearce admitted he would be willing to take England into the Euro 2012 finals if required. Pearce said: “I’m sure they’ll go through the process of getting someone in place before the summer and if they don’t, then they know they have got me available and all the planning is done.”

Costa Rica forgot to read the script in Cardiff as Joel Campbell’s seventh-minute strike was enough to beat Wales in the Gary Speed Memorial match. After an emotional pre-match build-up, Wales did not get the start they wanted as Campbell, on loan to Lorient from Arsenal, calmly finished after being picked out by a lovely Bryan Ruiz pass.

New Wales boss Chris Coleman admitted his players found it difficult to cope with the circumstances surrounding the game. “This was about one guy and it was important we were there to show our support and celebrate his life. It was a strange atmosphere because we were still grieving, but at the same time we had a game to win.”

Michael O’Neill’s first match in charge of Northern Ireland ended in defeat as a deflected effort and two late goals gave Norway a comfortable 3-0 victory at Windsor Park, with goals from Sammy Clingan, Tarik Elyounoussi Espen Ruud.

Christophe Berra’s first-half header gave Scotland a 1-1 draw against Slovenia at the Bonifika stadium. Midfielder Andraz Kirm had given Slovenia the lead in the 32nd minute.

France grabbed a morale-boosting victory in Bremen last night as goals from Olivier Giroud and Florent Malouda earned them a deserved 2-1 win against Germany. Giroud marked his debut with a goal midway through the first half while Chelsea’s Malouda stunned the hosts midway through the second period. Cacau pulled one back for Germany in the final minute.

Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick as Argentina beat Switzerland 3-1 in Berne. Messi combined brilliantly with Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero to give Argentina a 19th-minute lead and added two more late on, one from the penalty spot, after Xherdan Shaqiri had equalised for the hosts.

Euro 2012 co-hosts Poland played out a 0-0 draw with Portugal as they marked the opening of their new national stadium.


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