Soccer Digest, October 14, 2012

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 14 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 14 October, 2012, 2:39am


Japan in first soccer win over France

The press lavished praise on Shinji Kagawa yesterday after his goal gave Japan a 1-0 friendly victory over France, their first ever win against the 1998 World Cup champions. "As a team, we were able to score in a quick, wonderful way," said Kagawa. "But we must work harder to catch up with the top teams in the world." AFP


Del Piero upstaged by Heskey in Sydney

Italian maestro Alessandro del Piero scored his first goal in the Australian A-league yesterday but was still upstaged by former England player Emile Heskey, who also opened his account. Del Piero curled in a majestic free kick to open his A-League account in his second match in Australia. But it was not enough to prevent his Sydney FC from going down 3-2 to Heskey's Newcastle Jets in a charged match. The presence of the 37-year-old Juventus legend generated a near-capacity 35,000 crowd in Sydney and he didn't disappoint with another classy display. "We are not happy. We fought back later but we have to do better for our next game," Del Piero said. AFP


Italy back on track with win over Armenia, says coach Prandelli

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli praised his side's commitment after his team reinforced their lead at the top of their World Cup qualifying group with a morale-boosting 3-1 win away to Armenia. Italy had shown little of their World Cup credentials in a 2-2 draw with Bulgaria and a laboured 2-0 win over Malta, but goals from Andrea Pirlo and Roma pair Daniele de Rossi and Pablo Osvaldo proved enough to overcome a spirited Armenian team. "We struggled to get things going at times, but overall I'm satisfied," said Prandelli, whose side will line up against Denmark on Tuesday. "This is a tough group. But we played a great game and showed some character." AFP


Spain trounce Belarus 4-0

World and European champions Spain warmed up for their group I showdown with France on Tuesday as Pedro Rodriguez fired a hat-trick in a convincing 4-0 victory over Belarus. The win moved them alongside France on six points after two matches of their 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign. "We played a good match and were very complete," said manager Vicente del Bosque. "The players were relaxed from the beginning and played well together with depth and recovered the ball well. The talent of the players did the rest. Among them, Pedro stood out, who has been great for his club. He is fresh, dynamic, with a good, aggressive approach." AFP