Lucky England gets by Japan, Mexico outplays poor Gambia, France is unspectacular, goalkeepers hate the new ball and Honduras needs some new shirts.
LONDON — England missed a penalty shot and needed two own goals to beat Japan 2-1 in a World Cup warmup Sunday, while the Ivory Coast squandered a two-goal lead to draw with Paraguay.
In other games involving World Cup teams, Mexico outplayed non-qualifier Gambia 5-1 with two goals each by Javier Hernandez and Adolfo Bautista; France used a second-half goal from William Gallas to tie Tunisia 1-1; South Korea lost 1-0 to Belarus; and Nigeria tied Colombia 1-1.
Japan's Marcus Tanaka scored a goal for each team and Yuji Nakazawa deflected a cross past his own 'keeper, who earlier saved Frank Lampard's penalty shot against England.
"I am happy for the second half. I think we played better, faster. We found the space," said England coach Fabio Capello, who will name his final squad of 23 on deadline day Tuesday. "(In the first) we played too slow, passes wide. It was easy for the Japanese to defend."
Like many of the warmup matches, the game was played at altitude in the Austrian city of Graz so that the two teams could get used to playing in the conditions they will encounter next month in South Africa when the competition kicks off June 11.
Paraguay rallied from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Ivory Coast in the French town of Thonon-les-Bains. Didier Drogba and Souleymane Bamba put the Ivory Coast ahead by the 73rd minute, but Lucas Barrios replied in the 75th and Aureliano Torres equalized in the 89th.
Problems continue to mount for France coach Raymond Domenech, whose team fell behind to Issam Jomaa's fifth-minute strike for Tunisia. Arsenal defender Gallas, recently returned from injury, scored the equalizer in the 62nd minute to save the French.
Hernandez, who is headed for Manchester United, and Bautista scored two goals each in Mexico's victory over non-qualifier Gambia at Bayreuth, Germany. Alberto Medina added the fifth for Mexico, which opens the World Cup against host South Africa on June 11 and then meets former champions France and Uruguay.
Honduras needs a few extra shirts
TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras — Honduras faced some problems exchanging shirts at the end of it's last match because the Central American country is traveling without enough extra equipment.
Team general manager Osman Madrid said Sunday the problem arose after Thursday's 2-2 draw with Belarus in Villach, Austria, when a Belarus federation official asked to exchange shirts. Madrid said the request was initially denied, and then granted so as not to seem arrogant.
Teams traditionally exchange jerseys after matches as a sign of sportsmanship.
Madrid said more shirts would be on hand Wednesday when Honduras faces Azerbaijan.
Players not happy with 'supermarket' ball
JOHANNESBURG — Several players are going all out against the new World Cup ball, with more than one comparing it to those bought at a supermarket.
And this time it's not only goalkeepers who are complaining. Strikers, defenders and midfielders are also lashing out at the Adidas ball just a few days before the monthlong tournament is to begin in South Africa.
The ball is called Jabulani, which means "to celebrate" in isiZulu, but not many are celebrating it so far.
"It's very weird," Brazil striker Luis Fabiano said Sunday. "All of a sudden it changes trajectory on you. It's like it doesn't want to be kicked. It's incredible, it's like someone is guiding it. You are going to kick it and it moves out of the way. I think it's supernatural, it's very bad. I hope to adapt to it as soon as possible, but it's going to be hard."
Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar on Saturday called the ball "terrible" and was the first to compare it to those plastic ones bought on a supermarket. Italy striker Giampaolo Pazzini said the same thing, calling it a "disaster."
Adidas traditionally launches new balls for each World Cup and they usually cause controversy because of the changes prompted by the new technology being introduced. Most of the time the ball becomes speedier and goalkeepers are the ones most affected by it. But this time the livelier ball is causing problems to field players, too.
Adidas said the technology on the Jabulani is "radically new," and when it launched the ball in December is said that it would sail true because small dots on the surface would help improve reliability in the air. It said the ball would have "an exceptionally stable flight and perfect grip under all conditions."
FIFA and Adidas did not immediately return messages seeking comment Sunday.
Adidas has released some promotional materials in which some of its sponsored players praise the ball, including Kaka, Michael Ballack, Petr Cech and Frank Lampard. Ballack called the ball "fantastic."