Bafetimbi Gomis's second-half winner helped France clinch a 2-1 friendly victory against hosts Italy.
Two other European heavyweights, Netherlands and Germany, went head-to-head, but nothing could separate the bitter rivals in a goalless stalemate.
Montenegro moved top of England's World Cup qualifying group with a comfortable 3-0 victory against minnows San Marino.
And former England boss Fabio Capello watched his Russia side draw 2-2 against visitors USA in a friendly.
Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli hit the crossbar for Italy with a long-range shot in the 10th minute before highly rated AC Milan forward Stephan El Shaarawi, who has scored eight Serie A goals this term, transferred his impressive form to the international stage by netting the opener in Parma.
The Azzurri's lead lasted barely two minutes, though, as Mathieu Vabuena equalised for France before Gomis converted Patrice Evra's pass.
Both Netherlands and Germany were missing key players for their clash in Amsterdam - and it resulted in a tame match with few chances.
Borussia Dortmund forward Marco Reus could have snatched an injury-time winner for the Germans, but blasted his shot over the bar.
Elsad Zverotic's second-half strike sealed Montenegro's win against San Marino after Andrija Delibasic netted a first-half brace.
Montenegro have earned 10 points from four Group H games, with second-placed England on eight after four matches.
Capello, who took over as Russia boss in the summer, extended his unbeaten run at the helm to six matches with the draw against USA.
Fedor Smolov and Roman Shirokov netted for the home side, but their strikes were cancelled out by American pair Michael Bradley and Mikkel Deskerud.
Argentina fielded Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and Angel Di Maria in their trip to Saudi Arabia - but the South Americans were still unable to break down their hosts in a goalless stalemate.
The match saw Messi reunited with Saudi boss Frank Rijkaard - the man who gave him his break in the Barcelona first team.
World and European champions Spain thrashed Panama 5-1 after goals from Pedro (2), David Villa, Sergio Ramos and Markel Susaeta.
Elsewhere, Liverpool striker Luis Suarez netted Uruguay's third as they won 3-1 in Poland, while ex-Chelsea talisman Didier Drogba scored in Ivory Coast's 3-0 win against hosts Austria.
Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke put Belgium ahead in Romania, before the hosts turned the game around to win 2-1.
Arsenal forward Nicklas Bendtner, currently on loan at Juventus, put Denmark ahead from the spot in their 1-1 draw against Turkey.