DUSSELDORF, Germany: Argentina spoiled the party for world champions Germany by hammering the hosts 4-2 in an international friendly in Duesseldorf on Wednesday night in a repeat of the World Cup final.
Manchester United’s record British signing Angel Di Maria scored once and made goals for Sergio Aguero, Erik Lamela and Federico Fernandez as Argentina won their first game since losing to Germany in Brazil.
Andre Schuerrle and Mario Goetze replied but Germany were brought crashing down to earth by a ruthless Argentina display in what was Gerardo Martino’s first match in charge of the South Americans.
Martino, who filled the vacuum left when Alejandro Sabella declined the offer of a new contract after the World Cup, said the victory should not be over-hyped.
“They were missing a lot of players and also had three players who retired,” said Martino, who left the Barcelona job after just one season at the end of the last campaign as they ended without a trophy.
“That’s not easy to try to find a new team. Di Maria was more prominent than he was in the World Cup.”
His German counterpart Joachim Loew refuted suggestions that Argentina had avenged the defeat in the final.
“It can’t be revenge. You can’t repeat the final,” said Loew.
“I can’t actually fault the team because they have never played like that together before. Some players aren’t in form.”
Goetze’s extra-time winner at Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana on July 13 sealed Germany’s fourth World Cup triumph and there was a jubilant, capacity crowd of 51,132 packed into the Esprit Arena on Wednesday night.
Only four players who started the World Cup final were in the German line-up. Argentina’s team showed just four changes from the last time the sides met, with Javier Mascherano wearing the captain’s armband in place of absent Barcelona star Lionel Messi.
Di Maria, who missed the World Cup final through injury, set the tone of things to come with a piercing run early on before Mario Gomez missed the first of a string of scoring chances that came his way.
Argentina always looked dangerous on the counter against an inexperienced German defence and di Maria, in particular, was thriving on the right against Borussia Dortmund’s Erik Durm.
Five minutes before half-time the former Real Madrid player again found himself in space and he had plenty of time to pick out Lamela. Standing to the left the of the penalty spot, the Tottenham winger caressed a volley past Neuer and into the top corner.
Argentina went further in front when Di Maria’s excellent free-kick from the left was met by the head of Swansea defender Fernandez at the back post.
And just two minutes later di Maria raced on to Mascherano’s through ball before cooly dinking the ball over half-time substitute Roman Weidenfeller for Argentina’s fourth goal.
Schuerrle poked home from a corner after 52 minutes in a madcap start to the second half. Goetze, a second half sub, reduced the deficit further with a deflected shot on 76 minutes shortly after Reus had struck the post.