International friendlies: Russia, Poland cruise while Croatia settle for a draw - Firstpost

International friendlies: Russia, Poland cruise while Croatia settle for a draw

Russia and Poland stepped up their preparations for Euro 2016 with thumping victories over Lithuania and Finland, while Austria overcame tournament newcomers Albania 2-1.

Kamil Grosicki and Pawel Wszolek scored two goals each as an experimental Poland lineup thrashed Finland 5-0 in a friendly on Saturday to extend their winning streak to five games.

Poland left Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski on the bench in the first half, along with Fiorentina's on-loan winger Jakub Blaszczykowski, who scored the winning goal in Wednesday's friendly against Serbia.

Poland's Robert Lewandowski in action. Reuters

Poland's Robert Lewandowski in action. Reuters

The game, however, was effectively over as a contest by halftime as Poland scored three goals before the break.

Stade Rennais' Grosicki opened the scoring in Wroclaw in the 18th minute, netting from a precise cross by Legia Warsaw's right back Artur Jedrzejczyk.

Two minutes later Grosicki crossed from the left for Verona's on-loan midfielder Wszolek to chip in for 2-0.

Wszolek then found Filip Starzynski, who curled the ball into the net from the edge of the area in the 32nd minute.

Wszolek scored again in the 66th minute following a fortunate rebound off a Finnish defender after being set up by Grosicki, who completed the rout with five minutes remaining having collected a 40-metre pass from defender Bartosz Salamon.

Russia, who will face England in their opening match of the European Championship, cruised to a 3-0 victory over Lithuania in Moscow with goals from Fedor Smolov, Aleksandr Golovin and Denis Glushakov.

Austria stage comeback

Austria struck twice in the first 13 minutes before surviving an uncomfortable second half on the way to a 2-1 friendly win over fellow Euro 2016 finalists Albania.

Marc Janko scored an opportunist goal and Martin Harnik took advantage of a defensive howler as Albania's rearguard, which did not concede an away goal in the qualifying campaign, fell apart early on.

Janko ran on to Zlato Junuzovic's flicked pass, was partially stopped by a defender but managed to cleverly hook the ball past Etrit Berisha after six minutes. It was the experienced forward's 26th goal in 51 internationals.

Seven minutes later home goalkeeper Robert Almer sent a long clearance upfield, the Albania defence let it go and were caught out by the lurking Harnik who ran on and fired a shot past Berisha.

Albania, warming up for their first major finals, replied two minutes after the break when Ermir Lenjani burst through Austria's rearguard to blast his shot between Almer and his near post.

The Albanians finished with 10 men when Ergys Kace was sent off in the 78th minute for stamping on Aleksandar Dragovic's ankle.

Hungary and Croatia settle for a draw

A late free kick by captain Balazs Dzsudzsak earned Hungary a 1-1 friendly draw with fellow European Championship finalists Croatia in Budapest.

Ivan Perisic, who scored when Croatia beat Israel 2-0 on Wednesday, set up the opening goal for Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic after a good one-touch build-up in the 29th minute against Hungary.

Dzsudzsak came close to an equaliser when his fierce low shot in the 36th minute went just wide.

The home team applied more pressure in the second half and the midfielder did not miss the next time he had a chance, drilling a superb effort into the top corner of the net from 22 metres in the 79th minute.


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