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Portugal Routs World Champion Spain 4-0; France Beats England

Nov. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Portugal beat world champion Spain 4-0 in a soccer exhibition, while France won 2-1 in England and Lionel Messi scored the only goal in Argentina’s win over archrival Brazil.

Goals from Carlos Martins, Helder Postiga, Hugo Almeida and an own goal by Sergio Ramos gave Portugal the victory in Lisbon last night in a match organized to help promote the neighbors’ joint bid to host the 2018 World Cup. Spain began with 10 of the starters from July’s World Cup final win over the Netherlands.

“We have no excuses,” Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque was cited as saying by Efe news agency. “We allowed them too much space. We could not have played worse.”

Karim Benzema and Mathieu Valbuena got a goal in each half at Wembley Stadium in London as France sent England to its first home defeat since 2007. Peter Crouch scored with his first touch in the 86th minute after coming on as a substitute for England.

In Doha, Qatar, Messi’s stoppage-time goal gave Argentina its first win over Brazil since 2005. FIFA’s 2009 World Player of the Year weaved past two defenders before shooting into the bottom-right corner from the edge of the penalty area.

There were also exhibition wins for the Netherlands and Norway over Turkey and the Republic of Ireland, respectively, while the games between Romania and Italy, and Sweden and Germany, were drawn.

In qualifying matches for the 2012 European Championships, Croatia beat Malta 3-0 to move atop Group F and Mikael Forsell scored a hat trick in Finland’s 8-0 rout of San Marino in Group E. It was Finland’s biggest victory in a competitive international soccer match.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dan Baynes in Sydney at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at at

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