World Cup friendlies: England held by Ecuador, van Persie injured
In a match that can be described as eventful, England was held by fellow World Cup finalists, Ecuador 2-2.
Ecuador grabbed the lead through a thundering header by Enner Valencia in the eighth minute before Wayne Rooney leveled the scores by capitalising on a scramble in the penalty box to poke the ball into Ecuador's goal.
AFP reported that Everton and England midfielder, Ross Barkley, 20, produced a moment of fine individual skill to set up Rickie Lambert's 51st min strike.
England's lead was short lived as Ecuador's Michael Arroyo slammed home the equaliser from just outside the penalty area.
Then came the match's talking point - England's midfielder Raheem Sterling, who replaced Rooney, flew into a two-footed tackle over the ball tackle with Ecuador's Antonio Valencia.
The Ecuador captain retaliated by grabbing Sterling around the neck, resulting in a red card for both sets of players.
Indeed, the last half an hour of the game was costly for England as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain limped off in the 63rd min with a knee injury.
England will face Italy, Costa Rica and Uruguay in Group D.
Dutch sweat over Van Persie injury ahead of Spain opener
Netherlands captain Robin van Persie suffered a groin injury in his country’s last World Cup warm-up match on Wednesday as the Netherlands beat Wales 2-0 a day before their departure for Brazil.
The Manchester United player was taken off at halftime after looking laboured and struggling in the first half of the warm-up game, reported Reuters
But officials tried to downplay the injury by telling Dutch radio reporters the injury was not serious and that the 30-year-old should recover in time for the team’s opening match at the tournament against world champions Spain next week.
Considering that the star was out for two months in the Manchester United with a knee injury it was an understandable move by them
Coach Louis van Gaal said the injury had come as a result of the training Van Persie has been putting in over the last weeks, combined with his return to playing after months on the sidelines at his club Manchester United.
Saving van Persie for the World Cup
“We took him off as a precaution because this was not an important match,” Van Gaal told Dutch Radio One after the game at the Amsterdam Arena. “It was important rather to save him for the World Cup.”
Van Persie said: “I came off as a precaution. It built up during the game so I decided it was sensible to come off.”
Before the star came off, he set up Arjen Robben in the 32nd min to score Dutch's first goal.
Robben then turned provider to allow substitute Jeremain Lens to double the Dutch lead at the 76th min.
The Dutch will begin their campaign against champions Spain in Group B next week. Chile and Australia are in the same group.
Source: AFP, Reuters