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Coutinho scored one of Brazil's three goals against Russia

Coutinho scored one of Brazil's three goals against Russia | CBF Futebol

Brazil were in fine form as they dispatched World Cup hosts Russia 3-0 in Moscow, with Philippe Coutinho and especially Paulinho both featuring prominently. After Miranda had put the five-time world champions ahead just after the break, Coutinho doubled the lead from the penalty spot after Paulinho had been brought down by Aleksandr Golovkin.

Had it not been for some fine goalkeeping from Igor Akinfeev, Paulinho would have already been on the scoresheet before he finally found the target with a header from a William cross.

Two other primer contenders for glory this summer, Germany and Spain, met in a wonderful encounter in Dusseldorf that ended 1-1.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen started in goal for the home side, while Jordi Alba played the 90 minutes for the visitors, as Andrés Iniesta and Gerard Piqué were both substituted early in the second half.

Rodrigo scored early on for the Spaniards, but Thomas Mueller had levelled things up again by the break.

Meanwhile, France entertained Colombia in another game that did not disappoint in terms of entertainment value. The French, with Samuel Umtiti and Lucas Digne both starting but Ousmane Dembélé left on the Parisian bench, were two goals to the good within the first half hour but ended up losing 3-2 to the cafeteros, for whom Yerry Mina played the full ninety.

Jeroen Zoet got the nod ahead of Jasper Cillessen in goal for the Netherlands, who failed to qualify for the finals, in a 1-0 defeat at home to England.

Argentina won 2-0 against Italy in the unusual surroundings for such a fixture of the Etihad in Manchester, but Leo Messi was rested as a precautionary measure and played no part. 

Andre Gomes came on for the last 28 minutes of Portugal’s 2-1 win against Egypt, with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring twice for the home side.

In the final game on Friday, played in the small hours of the morning European time, Ivan Rakitic featured for 90 minutes as Croatia went down to 2-0 defeat in Peru.

The day before, Luis Suárez was the first Barçaplayer in action as his Uruguayt saw off the Czech Republic 2-0. Suárez opened the scoring with a 9th minute penalty, the 50th goal for a man who is already the highest goalscorer of all time for his country.

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