Elliott Bretland for MailOnline

Follow Sportsmail’s coverage of the international friendlies as Germany host Italy and France take on Russia on a night featuring a feast of action from across Europe.

The world champions host the Azzurri at the Allianz Arena hoping to put the Berlin defeat by England behind them as they face another old foe on the international stage.

Elsewhere France take on Russia in the Stade de France, with Didier Deschamps’ team playing at the stadium for the first time since November’s terrorist attacks in Paris.

Also in action are Portugal as they face Belgium, while Scotland host Denmark and the Republic of Ireland host Slovakia as part of their build up to Euro 2016. 

  • Elliott Bretland

    Host commentator

Kieran Gill: Renato Sanches comes on as a half-time substitute and gets an absolute roar from the Portuguese crowd. 

I was speaking to a chap at half-time and, in broken English, he told me to tell Manchester United to stay away when I get back to England because he is a Benfica fan… 

The AC Milan midfielder receives the ball in the area and controls with his right foot but, seeing a Germany defender about to slide in, the Italy international pokes his left boot at the ball and it sails wide.

Under pressure but he should have hit the target.

Andre-Pierre Gignac scores with a diving header at the near post to extend France’s lead.

Did well to direct the ball across goal and into the far corner.

Kieran Gill: It’s been all Portugal so far. Belgium have barely threatened.

Those inside this colourful stadium are enjoying it, at least, especially the police officers, who are stood at the back of the stand smoking. I’ll never get used to international football…

Callum Wilson: Craig Gordon makes a fantastic point blank save from Nicolai Jorgensen.

Paul McShane is unlucky as he diverts the ball into his own goal.

The Reading centre back deflects Peter Pekarik’s cross past goalkeeper Darren Randolph and the scores are level.

Slovakia celebrate after Paul McShane (left) diverts the ball into his own net

Kieran Gill: A lovely cross by Joao Mario finds Cristiano Ronaldo, and the man from Real Madrid has his goal.

Thibaut Courtois had no chance, really. His defence had deserted him and Ronaldo only had to pick which corner he fancied.

He did his trademark celebration too, and the Portuguese crowd ate it up.

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring his side’s second goal against Belgium

Gotze’s doubles Germany’s advantage!

The man who scored the winning goal in the 2014 World Cup final finds the net to give Germany a deserved 2-0 lead at the break.

Italy have offered very little.

Germany’s Mario Gotze celebrates after scoring to double Italy’s advantage

Ter Stegen is yet to be tested by the Italians.

Italy lack the names they used to boast but will still be considered one of the favourites in France.

They always seem to turn up in the major tournaments, when it matters.

However, Del Piero, Baggio, Maldini and Co would have proved a tougher test for the Germans than this current squad.

Riath Al-Samarrai: Eunan O’Kane is probably the Irish starter with the most to gain here. This is his second cap and time is on the short side if he is going to make it to France. Has has started well here, contributing to one of Ireland’s penalties and generally playing a very solid game in midfield. 

Just as Scotland went ahead, France took the lead in Paris, too. 

N’Golo Kante’s fairytale season just keeps getting better. The Leicester midfielder has scored on his full France debut!

And on his 25th Birthday too…

Ngolo Kante scores the opening goal for France on his full international debut

Martin O’Neill’s side trailed to a strike from former Chelsea winger miroslav Stoch but scored twice in the space of three minutes to lead.

Shane Long scored a penalty before James McClean added a second, also from the spot.


Toni Kroos breaks the deadlock!

The Real Madrid midfielder curls the ball past Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon and into the bottom corner.

Callum Wilson: The ball bounces over Agger, where Matt Ritchie is waiting to roll the ball into the back of the net. Scotland lead 1-0.

Kieran Gill: Portugal certainly aren’t patronising their opponents. They’ve been all over Belgium so far, testing Thibaut Courtois and hitting the crossbar. 

Finally, it paid off, as Nani scores the opener after beating the offside trap and slotting the ball beyond Courtois.

England and Wales will need to be mindful of how quickly this Slovakia team can hit on the break. They have a decent amount of pace in the side. 

Reading striker Matej Vydra nets the equaliser for the visitors!

France and Scotland have joined the friendly action. 

While this summer’s hosts test themselves against Russia tonight, Scotland’s focus will now be to prepare for a 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign after failing to qualify for Euro 2016 – the only British nation to do so.

Would have been great to have a full British invasion in France come June.

Kieran Gill in Portugal: The Belgian reporter to my left has been waving his scarf and singing songs. The Portuguese reporter to my right is watching a soap opera on his iPad. Me? I’m concentrating on Cristiano Ronaldo, who’s done very little so far.

In other news, Manchester United’s Marouane Fellaini just got elbowed. Did someone say shoe on the other foot?

Meanwhile, the crowd are trying to start a Mexican wave.

Mesut Ozil has just gone close for the world champions, latching on to Sebastian Rudy’s pass, but his shot was well blocked by Italy.

Every fan here has been handed a Belgium flag and is waving it as the players emerge. 

Just as England vs France after the Paris attacks, both sets of players have intermingled as they line up in front of the stand and sing the Belgian national anthem.

The scoreboard has been changed to the Belgian flag too. 

Great show of support from the Portuguese.

We have a goal in the game which kicked off at 7.30 and it’s gone to Sweden. The hosts take the lead through Panathanaikos striker Marcus Berg who converts Martin Olsson’s cross.

Meanwhile, Germany, Portugal, Republic of Ireland have all kicked off and are underway in their respective friendlies.

Excited for the Euros? This week’s international football has certainly got people looking ahead to this summer’s tournament in France.

CLICK HERE for Sportsmail’s ‘All you need to know’ guide ahead of Euro 2016.

Less than 15 minutes until kick-off and, I have to say, it’s half-empty here in Leiria. If I had to guess, I’d say about 15,000, maybe 20,000, are here so far. 

We should not forget, of course, that there will barely be any Belgians here. After the late stadium switch, tickets could not be made available for visiting fans.

This will be a weird one – it is Belgium’s first game since those atrocities in Brussels and, just like England vs France after the Paris attacks, this is bound to be emotional.

Belgium have been European football’s ‘dark horses’ for so long now, that it is probably time to simply recognise them as one of the favourites for Euro 2016.

The bulk of the current squad have been together for some time, and this tournament has always been seen as a target point, at which they would reach their peak.

But injuries have blighted Marc Wilmots’ squad in recent months, while several of their biggest stars are badly out of form – so can they still pose a threat at the Euros?

Belgium defender Nicolas Lombaerts leads the team during Tuesday’s pre-match warm-up

France take on Russia in their first game back at the Stade de France since November’s terrorist attacks in Paris.

Didier Deschamps’ Les Bleus squad were photographed meeting fans in the French capital on Tuesday morning ahead of the friendly match which will work as preparation for their host Euro 2016 tournament this summer.

France beat Holland – who, surprisingly, did not qualify for the European Championship – 3-2 at the Amsterdam Arena on Friday evening, with captain-on-the-day, Blaise Matuidi scoring a last-gasp winner.

Kieran Tierney becomes the youngest Scotland player to start for the national side for 54 years. He turned 18 on June 5 last year.

Scotland have lost 5 of the last 6 matches against Denmark, but won the last meeting back in August 2011.

Italy XI: Buffon, Darmian, Zaza, Motta, Insigne, Acerbi, Montolivo, Bonucci, Giaccherini, Florenzi, Bernardeschi.

Sweden XI: Isaksson, Salomonsson, Nilsson Lindelof, Granqvist, Olsson, Durmaz, Lewicki, Kallstrom, Forsberg, Ibrahimovic, Berg.

Czech Republic XI: Vaclik, Selassie, Sivok, Suchy, Pudil, Darida, Marecek, Skalak, Kolar, Krejci, Vydra.

Republic of Ireland XI: Elliot, Christie, McShane, O’Shea, Ward, McCarthy, Whelan, O’Kane, Hoolahan, Long, McClean.

Slovakia XI: Kozacik, Pekarik, Skrtel, Gregus, Sestak, Stoch, Vittek, Sabo, Salata, Hamsik. Svento.

France XI: Lloris, Evra, Sakho, Varane, Sagna, Diarra, Kante, Pogba, Griezmann, Martial, Gignac.

Russia XI: Akinfeev, Kuzmin, A. Berezutsky, V. Berezutsky, Zhirkov, Shirokov, Dzagoev, Kokorin, Shatov, Golovin, Dzyuba.

Denmark XI: Schmeichel, Dalsgaard, Kjaer, Christensen, Agger, Durmisi, Hojbjerg, Delaney, Eriksen, Yurary Jorgensen.

Romelu Lukaku, Nacer Chadli, Marouane Fellaini and Thibaut Courtois start for Beglium.

Marc-Andre Ter Stegen and Mario Gotze, who have both been linked with summer switches to Anfield, start for Germany at the Allianz Arena tonight.

You can also follow England’s friendly clash with Holland by clicking HERE

Welcome to Sportsmail’s coverage of an action-packed night on the continent with several European powerhouses in action as we countdown to Euro 2016 in France this summer.

Here’s tonight’s games…

Portugal vs Belgium

France vs Russia

Ireland vs Slovakia

Scotland vs Denmark 

Germany vs Italy 

Sweden vs Czech Republic       



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