The continent's sharpshooters showed they are as good as
ready for the main event in June by racking up the goals in a
string of midweek friendlies. It was a night to forget for Austria
and Switzerland, however, with the co-hosts shipping four goals
The big match
Spain 1-0 Italy
David Villa, 77
In the space of a few short weeks Spain have seen off both the finalists from Germany 2006. After downing the French in February, Luis Aragones' men completed a notable double against Italy in Elche, courtesy of David Villa's sumptuous left-foot volley.
On an evening when chances were hard to come by, the hosts stuck
to their familiar gameplan while the world champions waited for
opportunities on the counter. Gianluigi Buffon was the busier of
the two keepers, pulling off two fine stops, while Mauro Camoranesi
saw one of his two efforts rebound from the crossbar and the other
expertly blocked by Iker Casillas. The Spanish are now unbeaten in
14 games, an impressive run that includes 12 wins.
Best of the rest
The Netherlands emerged victorious in the most spectacular game of the night after being caught cold by a seemingly revitalised Austria. Having been 3-0 down after 35 minutes, Marco van Basten's charges roused themselves just in time to notch a breathless 4-3 win.
France overcame Fabio Capello's England thanks to Franck Ribery's first-half penalty. The Italian handed David Beckham a starting place, giving the LA Galaxy midfielder his 100th cap in the process and allowing him to join Billy Wright, Sir Bobby Charlton, Bobby Moore and Peter Shilton in England's select band of centurions.
Deprived of their foreign stars, Russia fell to a 3-0 defeat away to fellow EURO 2008 qualifiers Romania, while Poland, one of the surprises of the qualification campaign, were on the wrong end of a 3-0 reverse at home to the USA.
Reigning European champions Greece seem to be hitting form at just the right time again, registering a 2-1 win over Portugal in Dusseldorf. Over in London, Sweden fell to a debut goal from Brazil's latest prodigy Alexandre Pato, while the tireless Jan Koller reminded everyone of what he can do by securing a creditable 1-1 draw for Czech Republic in Denmark.
A resilient Turkey side came from behind twice to draw 2-2 with
Belarus in a decidedly chilly Minsk, while Niko Kranjcar looked to
have set Croatia on their way to a win at Hampden Park only for the
indefatigable Kenny Miller to snatch a draw for the Scots.
Switzerland 0-4 Germany
Miroslav Klose, 23; Mario Gomez 61, 67; Lukas Podolski 88
With just ten weeks to go before EURO 2008 gets underway, Germany laid down a significant marker by producing a fearsome demonstration of their all-round abilities against the Swiss. After a relatively smooth warm-up for the big event, it proved to be a deflating evening for the joint hosts.
3, the number of goals that the Netherlands were behind against Austria, but came back to win 4-3. This was the first time in their history that they overturned a 3-goal deficit to win a match.
It is over 24 years since the Netherlands last came from two goals down to win a match - beating the Republic of Ireland 3-2 in Dublin in October 1983 with two goals from Ruud Gullit and one from Marco van Basten.
To check out all of Wednesday's results from around the globe simply click on 'World Football' at the FIFA.com site and then 'Fixtures and Results'.