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Ireland opposition hit by friendly fire

THREE of Ireland's opponents for the Euro 2012 qualifying campaign had a disappointing night in international friendlies last night as group outsiders Macedonia were the only ones to enjoy a win.

Russia said goodbye to Dutchman Guus Hiddink as manager as he oversaw the national team for the final time in their 1-1 draw away to Hungary in a friendly.

Russia had to come from a goal down as a second half striker from Everton star Diniyar Bilyaletdinov gave them a draw, finishing off from a cross by Arsenal's Andrei Arshavin.

Slovakia, busily preparing for the World Cup finals, went down 1-0 in a friendly at home to Norway. Zlatko Kranjcar started life as Montenegro coach but his side lost 2-1 away to Macedonia, who are also in Ireland's group.

And on a night when their U21 side defeated Ireland 2-1 in Dublin, Armenia had a poor showing as they lost 3-1 away to Belarus, Vardan Minasyan tasting defeat in his first game as boss of the Armenia side.