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Miranda edges Brazil past Argentina while Belgium and Holland draw

The Guardian logo The Guardian 18/10/2018 Guardian sport

Miranda celebrates his late winner in the friendly between Brazil and Argentina at the King Abdullah Sport City Stadium in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. © AFP/Getty Images Miranda celebrates his late winner in the friendly between Brazil and Argentina at the King Abdullah Sport City Stadium in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. A stoppage-time goal from Miranda gave Brazil a 1-0 victory over Argentina in a foul-strewn friendly in Saudi Arabia. The central defender beat the goalkeeper Sergio Romero to a Neymar corner and headed home, deciding a game that looked set to go to penalties.

“Scoring a goal against Argentina is always gratifying and always exciting,” Miranda said. Argentina are one of only two teams to have beaten Brazil since Tite took over as the manager in 2016, but without Lionel Messi, who is taking a sabbatical from international football, they rarely troubled their neighbours.

The game was played in the heat of the King Abdullah Sports City and the conditions contributed to a stop-start match that included 35 fouls, 21 of them awarded to Brazil. Miranda should have put Brazil 1-0 up in the 28th minute when a Casemiro cross fell at his feet but his scuffed shot was blocked on the line by Nicolás Otamendi.

Paulo Dybala went close with a swerving free-kick for Argentina from just outside the box a minute later and Leandro Paredes watched a long-range effort drift wide early in the second half. Argentina improved considerably after the break but Brazil still had the better chances, with Romero parrying away a fierce volley from Arthur and Casemiro almost scoring with seven minutes left only to see his deflected free-kick curl wide.

“The team felt tired in the second half but I think we dominated our opponents, we played well and we got the goal at the end,” said Brazil’s Filipe Luís. “Obviously our team is better than theirs, we have maintained the same squad for years and they are in the process of renewal.“

Related: 17 facts you may not know about Neymar (provided by photo services)

An improving Holland held Belgium to a 1-1 draw at the King Baudouin Stadium. Ronald Koeman’s men beat Germany 3-0 in the Nations League on Saturday and will have been the happier of the two sides in Brussels.

Dries Mertens volleyed Belgium into a fifth-minute lead but that goal was matched in the 27th minute by Arnaut Groeneveld. Groeneveld finished smartly after Memphis Depay’s through ball picked him out following a quick Dutch break. Quincy Promes then struck a post from 20 yards for the home side but neither team could find a winner.

In other friendly games, goals from Lukas Lerager and Martin Braithwaite guided Denmark to a 2-0 win over Austria, and John Guidetti’s close-range finish gave Sweden a 52nd-minute lead against Slovakia, but Albert Rusnak equalised six minutes from time to earn the visitors a 1-1 draw.

In the Nations League Gibraltar followed their first competitive win in Armenia on Saturday by adding a second as two goals in five second-half minutes from George Cabrera and Joseph Chipolina cancelled out Dennis Salanovic’s first-half opener for Liechtenstein to earn a 2-1 home win. Armenia bounced back from their humiliation in Yerevan by beating Macedonia 4-0. Norway beat Bulgaria 1-0, Slovenia and Cyprus drew 1-1 in a game with three red cards, and Ukraine defeated the Czech Republic 1-0.

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