Argentina were able to take a little revenge on Germany for the lost 2014 World Cup final, beating Die Mannschaft 4-2 in Dusseldorf on Wednesday.
Anticipation was understandably high for this match, despite its status as an "international friendly." As shared by the hosts' Twitter feed, a massive crowd showed up to cheer on their heroes:
51,132 supporters in Düsseldorf - a sell-out crowd! Thank you! #GERARG #byyourside http://t.co/zgrmX2CRaD9/3/2014, 8:37:28 PM
Angel Di Maria was the star man for the visitors, providing assists left and right on a high-scoring night. The Manchester United forward found Sergio Aguero with a beautiful lofted ball in the 21st minute, and the Manchester City striker finished from close range.
Erik Lamela doubled the Albiceleste lead right before the half after another beautiful cross from Di Maria, and the former Real Madrid man completed his hat-trick of assists when Federico Fernandez headed home one of his free-kicks early in the second half.
Germany fielded a young and inexperienced back line, and it showed during the first half. While the hosts were their usual ball-dominant selves in the centre of the pitch, the visitors threatened every time they committed to the counter-attack.
The match turned into a route when Di Maria got a well-deserved goal just minutes after Fernandez had scored, with a beautiful chip of Roman Weidenfeller. As shared by WhoScored.com, the four goals conceded matched Germany's total at the World Cup:
Germany: Have conceded as many goals against Argentina (4) as they had in their 7 World Cup 2014 matches combined #GERARG9/3/2014, 8:01:02 PM
Andre Schurrle responded with a goal of his own within the minute, converting from a corner to give the home crowd something to cheer about. The hosts started pushing for a second but nearly ran into another Argentine goal several times before Mario Gotze reacted quickest when Sergio Romero failed to clinch a cross.
Both teams made a plethora of substitutions after Gotze's goal, and the match quickly lost all pace as the star players seemed more concerned with avoiding injuries. Fans didn't complain, however—they had been treated to arguably one of the best friendlies of the year.
Di Maria was taken off five minutes before the final whistle, and The Sports Bible's Liam didn't hide his admiration:
Liam Canning @LiamPaulCanning
Di María has been involved in every single goal for Argentina tonight, what a fantastic solo performance tonight. MOTM for sure.9/3/2014, 8:13:53 PM
The Daily Mirror's Ed Malyon agreed, although he pointed out Germany's back four didn't look great on any of the goals:
Ed Malyon @eaamalyon
Di María subbed after 85 mins. Majestic performance tonight (albeit helped by Durm and Ginter)9/3/2014, 8:32:16 PM
As shared by Balbir Aulakh, Di Maria refused to take credit for the great result, outlining how important was for the team to start the new cycle on a positive note:
Balbir Aulakh @BalbirSA97
Angel Di Maria: "It is important to win because it is the first game of a new era, and we are very happy about that."9/3/2014, 8:44:57 PM
Joachim Low admitted the match simply didn't go his team's way, promising a better showing in their next outing:
#Löw: "The game didn't go our way. It was a test with a view to finding our rhythm for Sunday. #GERSCO wil be different." #GERARG9/3/2014, 9:30:52 PM
Lukas Podolski downplayed the importance of the friendly:
.@Podolski10: "We're disappointed, of course. But the Scotland game is more important." #GERARG #GERSCO9/3/2014, 9:34:35 PM
Both squads had several of their biggest stars missing, and as the first match either played since the World Cup, it's hardly indicative of form or quality. That said, the Argentine squad looked formidable in attack, despite the absence of Lionel Messi.
One things is certain: If Di Maria can keep up this kind of form, Manchester United's fortunes might change in a hurry.