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May 31, 2014

Friendlies: RVP scores, Montolivo blow

Robin van Persie scored in the fifth minute as Netherlands claimed a 1-0 win over Ghana in Rotterdam.

The Manchester United striker was set up by Wesley Sneijder as Louis van Gaal's side claimed victory in their penultimate friendly before the World Cup.

Italy were held to a 0-0 draw by Ireland in a World Cup warm-up match Saturday that saw the Azzurri lose key midfielder Riccardo Montolivo to a broken leg which will rule him out of the tournament in Brazil.

Reading fullback Alex Pearce fouled Montolivo in the ninth minute and the AC Milan player immediately knew what was wrong. Montolivo could be seen saying ''it's broken'' as fellow players and medical staff hovered around him anxiously while he was still lying on the pitch.

Making matters worse, Montolivo's replacement Alberto Aquilani also left before halftime complaining of dizziness after knocking heads with a defender. Both Montolivo and Aquilani were brought to a local hospital for tests. In Aquilani's case, the tests showed he was not seriously injured.

Mexico were also dealt two injuries worries in their 3-1 win against Ecuador as Luis Montes left the stadium in an ambulance after scoring the opening goal with a suspected broken leg. Rafael Marquez also went to hospital after receiving a strong blow in the first half.

Marco Fabian, who replaced Montes, scored Mexico's second goal with the third coming through a Maximo Banguera own goal in the 76th minute, with Ecuador scoring a late consolation thanks to Jorge Guagua.

Portugal, without Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo, were held to a goalless draw by Greece in a re-run of the 2004 European Championship final, which was surprisingly won by the latter in Lisbon.

Anders Konradsen's late goal saw Russia held to a 1-1 draw by Norway in their penultimate warm-up game in Oslo.

Konradsen's 77th-minute header from Morten Gamst Pedersen's cross cancelled out Oleg Shatov's opener for Russia in the third minute.

Russia could have scored more if not for Norway defender Vegard Forren, who twice cleared off the line with goalkeeper Rune Jarstein beaten.

The draw continued the low-key World Cup preparation by Fabio Capello's Russia team, who beat Slovakia 1-0 in a friendly on Monday and take on Morocco in Moscow on Thursday in their final game before departing for Brazil.

Ivan Perisic scored twice to give Croatia a 2-1 win over Mali. The Wolfsburg striker netted his first in the 14th minute after a perfect pass by Ivan Rakitic, who was also provider for the second from a corner in the second half.

Khalifa Traore converted one of Mali's rare chances in the 79th minute, although he appeared to have scored from close range with his hand.

Algeria cruised to a 3-1 victory over Armenia. Essaid Belkalem, Nabil Ghilas and Islam Slimani put the finalists completely in command before half-time, with Artur Sarkisov providing the consolation moments after the restart.

Colombia threw away a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with Senegal. Teofilo Gutierrez scored the opener after only 11 minutes, with Carlos Bacca doubling the advantage on the stroke of half-time. Senegal got back into the at the beginning of the second half through Moussa Konate and levelled when Cheikh Ndoye netted in the 52nd minute. Senegal played the last 23 minutes with 10 men when Ibrahima Seck saw red, but there would be no winner.

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