Manager Roy Hodgson of England looks towards the crowd during the match between England and Italy. The Azzurri and Three Lions meet again on August 15, 2012. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)

2012 International Friendlies: Brazil, England, Argentina Among Those In Action

Brazil and Sweden face off early in the afternoon, followed by a big slate of friendlies where the highlight is England vs. Italy.

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Belgium Vs. Netherlands 2012: Final Score, Dries Mertens Dominates In 4-2 Win

Belgium and the Netherlands both played young teams on Wednesday to get a look at some new players before World Cup qualifying starts, and they put on a show. Belgium jumped out to an early lead, but Holland went on to take control of the game. They led well into the second half before Dries Mertens decided to completely take over the game, and he led Belgium to a 4-2 victory.

The opening goal came by way of Christian Benteke in the 20th minute. Even though the opportunity itself was a bit lucky, but there was nothing lucky about the finish. The ball fell to Benteke on a big deflection, but he took a brilliant first touch, than an even better second touch to beat his defender before powering a great finish into the net from 10 yards.

Early in the second half, Holland turned the game around, thanks to Arjen Robben. He played mostly on the right under Bert van Marwijk, but Louis van Gaal had him on the left side of midfield in the second half. He used his pace and left foot to create both goals, just one minute apart. Both were tap-ins off low crosses, with Luciano Narsingh netting in the 54th minute and Klass-Jan Huntelaar netting one minute later.

Dries Mertens entered the game in the 67th minute, and even though no one knew it at the time, this effectively ended the game. He made a spectacular zig-zagging run through the Dutch defense in the 76th minute before equalizing with a great strike. In the 78th minute, he beat the entire defense again before putting in a cross that deflected to Romelu Lukaku, who volleyed past Maarten Stekelenberg. Another two minutes later, he did it again, setting up Jan Verthongen for Belgium's fourth goal.

International friendlies right before the start of the European club season should probably not be a thing, but at least Holland and Belgium made this one fun.


Brazil Vs. Sweden 2012: Final Score, 3-0 To Selecao Thanks To Leandro Damiao, Pato

Brazil's magical, seemingly endless summer tour has finally come to a conclusion, and their players can return to their club teams. They washed off the disappointment of their Olympic silver medal, outplaying Sweden for 90 minutes in Stockholm and coasting to a 3-0 victory.

Leandro Damiao scored the opening goal 32 minutes in, an easy tap-in header. Neymar made the goal, beating his man down the left flank as per usual and lofting a cross towards the far post. Damiao put himself in the perfect spot and nodded the ball into the net.

The game was rather uneventful for most of the second half until Alexandre Pato came off the bench and made his presence known. The often injured AC Milan man has had a solid (and relatively healthy) summer, and Milanistas will hope what they saw today was a glimpse into the future. He scored quick back-to-back goals to end the game, netting a close-range header in the 84th minute and a penalty in the 86th minute to seal an emphatic win for Brazil.


Belgium Vs. Netherlands 2012: Lineups

Both the Netherlands and Belgium are going with very young and very attacking lineups for their Wednesday friendly. Holland's lineup looks like a 4-3-3, but who knows how it'll actually play in practice. Probably a lot of guys running around and swapping positions in a fluid attacking front five. Total football returns! Belgium is playing Jan Verthongen out of position at left back and has smallish, usually wide forward Kevin Mirallas at center forward. He played more striker last year in Olympiakos and led the Greek league in scoring.

Netherlands lineup (4-3-3): Stekelenburg; Willems, Heitinga, Mathijsen, van Rhijn ; De Jong, van der Vaart Sneijder; Robben, Huntelaar, Narsingh

Belgium Lineup (4-2-3-1): Courtois; Verthongen, van Buyten, Vermaelen, Gillet; Defour, Witsel; Hazard, Chadli, Benteke; Mirallas

Kickoff is at 2:45 p.m. ET from Brussels. You can catch the game on ESPN Deportes in the United States, and it's also streaming on ESPN3.

We'll have live updates of this and other friendlies on Wednesday in our international friendlies StoryStream.


Spain Vs. Puerto Rico 2012: Why?

Why are Spain and Puerto Rico playing an August friendly? What the hell?


Belgium Vs. Netherlands 2012: Rode Duivels Begin Their World Domination

New eras begin for Belgium and the Netherlands on Wednesday.


Scotland Vs. Australia, 2012 Friendly: Surprisingly A Thing!

Scotland and Australia are playing on television because reasons.


France Vs. Uruguay 2012: Game Time, TV Schedule, Live Updates And More

Edinson Cavani isn't playing, but Uruguay vs. France should still be fun. Didier Deschamps is making his debut as France manager.


Mexico Vs. USA 2012 Preview: Game Time, TV Schedule, Live Updates And More

The United States heads to Estadio Azteca for a clash with Mexico and another edition of CONCACAF's best rivalry.


Germany Vs. Argentina 2012: Game Time, TV Schedule, Live Updates And More

Germany takes on Argentina in a high-profile World Cup qualifiers warm-up.


England Vs. Italy 2012: Game Time, TV Schedule And Preview

Italy vs. England. In Switzerland. Three days before the start of the Premier League season. Prepare yourselves for the least meaningful friendly date on the calendar!

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