SCOTLAND were given a glimmer of hope ahead of their clash with Germany in Dortmund on Sunday as Manchester United new boy Angel di Maria scored once and set up three goals in a 4-2 victory over the World Cup winners.
Scorers: Germany - Schürrle (52), Götze (78); Argentina - Agüero (20), Lamela (40), Fernández (47), Di María (50)
Only four members of the Germany team which started the biggest match in world football on 13 July were selected, as Di Maria assisted in the first three goals for Sergio Aguero, Erik Lamela and Federico Fernandez before adding the fourth in a game filled with chances at both ends.
Argentina led 4-0 early in the second half but André Schürrle pulled a goal back for Germany before Fernandez turned a Mario Götze effort into his own goal, on a night when only players from the English Premier League found the back of the net.
Mario Gomez had the first chance of the game in the sixth minute, but his shot struck Sergio Romero in the face.
In the 20th minute, Di Maria curled a cross in behind the Germany defence with the outside of his left boot, serving the ball on a plate for Aguero to lift into the roof of the net from point-blank range.
Ten minutes later, Di Maria terrorised the Germany defence once more, choosing to shoot this time but placing his effort straight at Manuel Neuer.
Five minutes before the break, Di Maria got to the bye-line and lifted the ball back for Tottenham’s Lamela to place perfectly into the top left-hand corner with a side-footed volley.
It became 3-0 for Argentina almost immediately in the second half when Swansea’s Fernandez headed Di Maria’s cross past Germany’s replacement goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller with the aid of the far post.
Three minutes later, Di Maria crowned his excellent personal performance with a goal, racing in from the right before dinking the ball delicately past the onrushing Weidenfeller.
Germany grabbed a consolation just moments later when Schürrle was left in space in the centre to volley at Romero. The ball came back to the Chelsea forward off the Argentina goalkeeper and he converted at the second attempt.
Marco Reus hit the post as Germany attempted a comeback with Götze’s wayward effort deflected into his own goal by Fernandez to bring the hosts back to within two goals.
There was not to be a dramatic comeback, though, as Argentina gained a sliver of revenge for defeat in Brazil – and demonstrated to Scotland manager Gordon Strachan that Germany are not invincible.
Germany: Neuer (Weidenfeller), Durm, Grosskreutz, Ginter, Höwedes (Rüdiger), Reus, Kroos (Rudy), Kramer, Schürrle (Müller), Draxler (Podolski), Gomez (Götze).
Argentina: Romero (Andujar), Zabaleta (Campagnaro), Rojo, Demichelis, Fernández, Biglia, Mascherano, Pérez (Fernández), Agüero (Gaitán), Lamela (Gago), Di María (Álvarez)