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MLS Highlights

Mueller, Khedira fire Germany past France

Thomas Mueller and Sami Khedira scored clinical second-half goals as Germany withstood heavy spells of pressure to come from behind and beat France for the first time since 1987.

Italy, meanwhile, was spared from a sixth straight friendly defeat as substitute Marco Verratti restricted the Netherlands to a 1-1 tie with his last-gasp goal at the Amsterdam ArenA.

Also, Lionel Messi failed to score but played a key role in Argentina's 3-2 win over Sweden and Cristiano Ronaldo scored in a losing cause for Portugal, which was beaten 3-2 at home to Ecuador.

France took the lead shortly before halftime when Mathieu Valbuena punished some slack Germany defending to head in from close range after Karim Benzema's freekick had struck the crossbar. Mueller scored shortly after the break with a shot into the top corner and Germany then withstood a 20-minute barrage as France pushed for a second goal.

Instead, it went to the Germans as France's left flank was exposed for the second time, allowing Khedira to run through and slip the ball into the bottom corner.

France had won four of their past five encounters, with the other one drawn.

"It was our first big test of 2013, we played with a lot of rhythm and showed some of the good things that were missing last year," Germany coach Joachim Loew said.

The Netherlands looked like condemning Italy to a sixth straight friendly loss when Jeremain Lens put them in front in the 33rd, only for Verratti to come off the bench and score a last-gasp equalizer.

"Everyone lost the plot at the end, we gave it away," Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal said.

Sweden's home match with Argentina was being dubbed as a head-to-head between strikers Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Messi, who spent a year together at Barcelona before Ibrahimovic left for AC Milan in 2010 after losing his place as center forward to Messi.

Neither scored at the Friends Arena but Messi -- the four-time world player of the year -- had a bigger impact and even had a close encounter with a pitch invader, who ran onto the pitch, embraced the forward and kissed him on the forehead.

Mikael Lustig turned Gonzalo Higuain's shot for Argentina's opening goal before Sergio Aguero and Higuain added further goals after Jonas Olsson had equalized.

Ibrahimovic was substituted at halftime with his team 3-1 down and Rasmus Elm's free kick in injury time came too late for the hosts.

Information from Press Association and The Associated Press was used in this report.


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