FOOTBALL NEWS

09/06/2012 21:44, Report by Adam Bostock

Internationals: Nani denied

Manchester United stars Rafael and Nani both lost by the odd goal with their countries on Saturday night, albeit in wildly contrasting fashion.

Reds right-back Rafael started for Brazil away to Argentina, an international that lived up to its billing as a blockbuster with a final score of 4-3 - if not quite fitting the 'friendly' label with two red cards shown in the dying moments. Lionel Messi made the headlines with a hat-trick, completed by the winning goal in the 85th minute. When Rafael left the field five minutes earlier to be replaced by Danilo, the great South American rivals were locked at 3-3 after Messi's first two efforts and one from substitute Augusto Fernandez were matched by Borges Romulo, Oscar and Hulk for Brazil. The men sent off as an incredible clash drew to a close were Argentina's Ezequiel Lavezzi and Brazil's Marcelo.

Nani, meanwhile, lost 1-0 in a less dramatic but more meaningful match - Portugal's opening fixture of Euro 2012. Neither side impressed in what was expected to be a cracker, but Mario Gomez's 72nd-minute header at least gave Germany something to smile about. The Germans' cause to escape the European Championship's so-called 'Group of Death' was helped by one of the favourites Holland losing the earlier match 1-0 to Denmark. United goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard was an unused sub for the victors as the Danes' number one Stephan Andersen kept Robin van Persie and co at bay.

The only Red to actively win this weekend was Javier Hernandez, who helped to force an own goal during Mexico's 3-1 victory over Guyana in a World Cup qualifier.

More: Kagawa scores for Japan

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