Spain pip Argentina

PARIS - Xabi Alonso emerged as the two-goal hero as Spain downed Argentina, while England came up short against five-time world champions Brazil in World Cup warm-ups on Saturday.

PARIS - Xabi Alonso emerged as the two-goal hero as Spain downed Argentina, while England came up short against five-time world champions Brazil in World Cup warm-ups on Saturday.

On a packed programme of international friendlies Italy and the Netherlands drew a blank in Pescara while there were mixed fortunes for two other World Cup qualifiers.

Serbia, who topped their qualifying group to consign 2006 beaten finalists France to the playoffs, scraped a 1-0 win in Northern Ireland but Switzerland were defeated by the same scoreline by Norway. The US were felled 1-0 by Slovakia.

In Doha an injury-hit England received a World Cup reality check after coming up short against Brazil, the 1-0 scoreline flattering Fabio Capello's side - Nilmar's second-half header the difference.

In Madrid Alonso struck in either half to fire Euro 2008 champions Spain to a 2-1 win over Argentina, with Lionel Messi netting a penalty for the visitors. - Sapa-AFP

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