Mon, May 26, 2008 - Page 20 News List

Greece crash in Budapest to lose final warm-up game

MAGNIFICENT MAGYARSThe home side gave new boss Erwin Koeman a winning start as goals by Balazs Dzsudzak, Roland Juhasz and Krisztian Vadocz sunk the visitors

AP , LONDON

The Netherlands’ Dirk Kuyt, right, beat Ukrainian defender Andry Nesmachniy to the ball to score during their friendly in Rotterdam on Saturday.

PHOTO: AFP

Defending European champion Greece suffered a second-half collapse on Saturday and lost their final warm-up match while the Netherlands, Croatia and Switzerland all continued their mobilization for the upcoming continental championship with victories.

The Greeks allowed three goals in 16 minutes and lost 3-2 to Hungary, their last friendly before beginning the defense of their crown.

Dirk Kuyt, Klaas Jan Huntelaar and Ryan Babel all scored to help the Netherlands to a 3-0 win over Ukraine; Niko Kovac’s first-half goal lifted Croatia past Moldova 1-0; and Valon Behrami had a goal and set up another to help Switzerland beat Slovakia 2-0 and snap a four-match losing streak.

In a game not involving Euro 2008-bound teams, Ireland rallied with an injury time goal and drew 1-1 with Serbia to give Giovanni Trapattoni a dramatic start in his debut match as manager of the Boys in Green.

In Budapest, Hungary, Balazs Dzsudzsak, Roland Juhasz and Krisztian Vadocz all scored to put Hungary ahead 3-1 by the 63rd minute, beating substitute goalkeeper Konstantinos Chalkias, who replaced Antonios Nikopolidis after he was injured in the 22nd minute.

The result was a winning debut for Hungary manager Erwin Koeman, the older brother of FC Barcelona defender Ronald Koeman who replaced Peter Varhidi earlier this month.

It was Hungary’s first victory in eight matches against Greece, a streak dating back to 1987.

In Rotterdam, Netherlands, Kuyt’s first international goal in nearly a year put the Netherlands in front when the Liverpool forward headed in Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s cross in the 22rd minute.

Huntelaar doubled the lead with a shot from inside the area in the 37th after Rafael van der Vaart’s pass. Van der Vaart turned provider again in the 63rd, setting up substitute Babel for the third.

“We started well,” Van der Vaart said. “New guys were there and it went well. It was a good test.”

In Rijeka, Croatia, Kovac’s header in the 30th off a cross from Ivan Rakitic followed a period in which Igor Budan, Ivica Olic and Rakitic produced five consecutive chances in the first 10 minutes.

In Lugano, Switzerland, Behrami scored a well-worked goal in the 56th minute. Defender Philippe Senderos played the ball out wide on the right to Behrami, who slipped a pass inside to Gokhan Inler.

The midfielder’s shot was parried by Slovak goalkeeper Jan Mucha, but straight into the direction of Behrami who scored from 10m. It was only his second goal in 15 international matches.

In the 63rd minute, Behrami combined with Alexander Frei for the insurance. Johan Vonlanthen played Behrami through and the Lazio player pushed it past the onrushing Mucha, leaving Frei a simple tap-in for his 33rd goal in 58 internationals.

In Dublin Andy Keogh scored in injury time, driving a volley from 15m after Daryl Murphy headed the ball across the goal.

Serbia lead in the 75th minute when Marko Pantelic scored from close range.

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