Argentina takes World Cup final rematch with 4-2 win over Germany
DUESSELDORF, Germany (AP) – Angel di Maria set up three goals and scored the fourth himself as Argentina trounced Germany 4-2 in their friendly game Wednesday to get a small measure of payback after losing to the host in the World Cup final.
Argentina was up 4-0 after just 50 minutes to dampen the home side's World Cup title celebrations in its first game since winning the final 1-0 in extra time in Brazil in July.
With Lionel Messi absent due to a right leg injury, Di Maria assumed the instigator's role, setting up Sergio Aguero in the 21st minute, Erik Lamela's outstanding volley in the 40th, and Federico Fernandez' headed goal two minutes after the interval.
For Aguero's, Di Maria sent in an exquisite cross with the outside of his left boot that gave the Manchester City striker a simple tap-in after a lack of concentration in the German defense.
Lamela made it 2-0 five minutes before the interval with a rocket of a volley to the top left corner from Di Maria's deep cross.
Fernandez' header from Di Maria's cross gave substitute Germany goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller no chance, and a rout looked on the cards when Di Maria, who completed his move to Manchester United from Real Madrid last week, crowned his performance in the 50th minute with a delightful chip over the goalkeeper after being set up by captain Javier Mascherano.
Andre Schurrle pulled one back from a rebound two minutes later before Mario Gotze, who scored the winning goal in the World Cup final, made it 4-2 with a deflected shot in the 78th.
Both sides fielded much-changed lineups to the ones that contested the biggest game in world football in Rio de Janeiro's Maracana stadium 52 days earlier.
Germany made seven changes to its side. Captain Philipp Lahm, fellow defender Per Mertesacker and record scorer Miroslav Klose all retired after the final, while coach Joachim Low also had to contend with a host of injuries.
Argentina coach Gerardo Martino, who took over from Alejandro Sabella after the final, had to do without Messi on his debut. He did, however, have Di Maria - who missed the title match with an injury.
The attacking midfielder showed his intention early on with a run before Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer emerged to snuff out the danger.
Neuer captained the side in the absence of the injured Bastian Schweinsteiger, who was named as Lahm's successor on Tuesday.
Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero then got the better of Mario Gomez in a 1-on-1 situation at the other end.
Gomez, back in the side after missing out on the World Cup due to fitness concerns, missed three chances to score with the goal at his mercy. The Fiorentina striker was whistled by fans after his last miss and when he was substituted.
Schurrle and Gotze responded, and Marco Reus struck the post for the home side, which couldn't muster a comeback - but still has the World Cup.