Created on 03-09-2014 at 22:47 PM
Germany against Argentina and a goal from Mario Götze - that's about all the German national team's first game after the World Cup had in common with July's Final in Rio de Janeiro. In Wednesday's friendly against Argentina, the world champions were beaten 4-2 by the South Americans.
52 days after the World Cup Final, Germany left a lot to be desired defensively in Düsseldorf, something the Argentines ruthlessly exploited. Sergio Agüero (20), Erki Lamela (40), Federico Fernandez (47) and the always dangerous Angel Di Maria (50) scored for the World Cup runners-up, with André Schürrle (52) and Götze (78) getting on the scoresheet for Germany. This Sunday, Germany will begin their European Championship qualifying campaign against Scotland in Dortmund.
Lahm gets official farewell
Before the game kicked off in Düsseldorf it was a moment to bid farewell to Germany's three retired World Cup winners. Long-time captain Philipp Lahm (113 caps), national team veteran Miroslav Klose (137) and Per Mertesacker (104) as well as Jogi Löw's assistant until the World Cup, Hansi Flick, got a much-deserved send-off in front of thousands of supporters. DFB President Wolfgang Niersbach and General Secretary Helmut Sandrock presented the recipients with jerseys with the four World Cup stars and their names.
Compared to the World Cup Final on July 13, Germany's starting line-up featured several changes. Only four players from Rio de Janeiro started on Wednesday (Neuer, Höwedes, Kroos, Kramer). For Argentina, seven players from the Final started this time around in Gerardo Martino's debut as national team coach. The most notable absence for Argentina was Lionel Messi who missed out due to injury.
In the absence of newly-appointed captain Bastian Schweinsteiger, who was watching from the stands, Manuel Neuer wore the armband for Löw's side. Neuer was also the only FC Bayern player in the starting line-up with Thomas Müller and Götze witnessing the start from the bench. The new-look eleven combined well from the off and created some clear-cut scoring chances in the first half, with Mario Gomez on three occasions as well as Toni Kroos and Schürrle failing to put any of them away.
Götze with a volley
Germany's opponents, on the other hand, posed a threat of their own, mostly in the form of Angel Di Maria. The Manchester United attacker set up both first-half goals for the Gauchos, one for Agüero (20) and one for Lamela (40) who were both quick to punish mistakes from the German back-line. Neuer was powerless to prevent either goal.
In the second half Löw ran through his selection options and Roman Weidenfeller took over for Neuer in goal. Two minutes after the restart, Argentina went up 3-0. A Di Maria cross from a set-piece situation was calmly headed in by Fernandez (47) Three minutes later, the impressive Man of the Match got a goal of his own after a great run and finish to make it 4-0.
Germany did respond quickly, though. Andre Schürrle pounced on a loose ball after a corner to pull a goal back (52) and give the crowd the vague hope of a comeback. Müller and Götze came on in the 57th minute to give the team a boost but it was not quite enough. Marco Reus hit the post (76) and Götze, who netted the unforgettable winner in the World Cup final, repeated his role of goalscorer once more with a deflected volley to make it 4-2 with 12 minutes to play. Unfortunately for Germany, that was all the Argentine defence allowed and the scoreline remained the same.