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Thursday 01 March 2012

Barclays Premier League stars shine in friendlies

Clint Dempsey scores historic goal for USA, while League players make impact elsewhere

Fulham's Clint Dempsey secured the first win for the USA over Italy

Fulham striker Clint Dempsey was the star as the USA secured a famous 1-0 win over Italy in Genoa.

Dempsey's 55th-minute shot beat Gianluigi Buffon as the Americans earned their first win over the Azzurri in their 11th attempt.

"It’s historic for us beating a team of Italy’s level," said USA coach Jurgen Klinsmann.

Sunderland's Sebastian Larsson warmed up for this weekend's eagerly-awaited Tyne-Wear derby by scoring twice in an impressive 3-1 win for Sweden in Croatia.

Half-time substitute Larsson had been on the pitch for only one minute when he pounced to slot in after Samuel Holmen's shot was parried, then he coolly finished from Zlatan Ibrahimovic's through-ball.

Malouda shines for France

Chelsea's Florent Malouda came off the bench to score from close range for France as they extended their unbeaten run to 18 matches with an excellent 2-1 win over Germany in Bremen.

David Silva of Manchester City got on the scoresheet as world and European champions Spain cruised to a 5-0 victory over Venezuela.

West Brom forward Simon Cox produced an excellent finish late on to salvage a 1-1 draw for the Republic of Ireland against the Czech Republic.

Rising Sunderland star James McClean came off the bench to make his international debut in the match.

Wolves defender Christophe Berra headed in from Liverpool's Charlie Adam as Scotland hit back to earn a 1-1 draw in Slovenia.

And on an emotional night in Wales, players and fans paid tribute to Gary Speed ahead of the match against Costa Rica.

Arsenal teenager Joel Campbell - currently on loan at Lorient in France - scored after Fulham's Bryan Ruiz provided the assist as the visitors won 1-0.

Wales manager Chris Coleman admitted it was a difficult night, but paid tribute to the support he had received from Liverpool's Craig Bellamy - the Welsh striker was a close friend of Speed.

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Key Points

  • Dempsey nets winner in famous USA win
  • Larsson double secures Sweden success
  • Malouda helps France extend unbeaten run