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Germany 2 Argentina 4: Champions of the world suffer heavy defeat on return home

AMONG the myriad notes which Gordon Strachan has made about the German national team since the draw for the Euro 2016 qualifiers, the Scotland manager will likely have made one more last night.

Angel di Maria led Argentina to a stirring win over Germany, their conquerors in the World Cup final. Picture: Reuters
Angel di Maria led Argentina to a stirring win over Germany, their conquerors in the World Cup final. Picture: Reuters

It will be underlined to his players on Sunday: Germany are the world champions, but they are also only human.

Admittedly this was an understrength German side but they were still cut by a series of sharp attacking moves and bled four goals in Dusseldorf against Argentina, the team which was dispatched in the World Cup final in July. Angel di Maria - who was a Real Madrid player when he stepped out in the Maracana but faced the Germans last night as a Manchester United man - set up the first three goals for the South Americans before capping the display with the fourth. Andre Schuerrle and substitute Mario Goetze responded for the hosts.

The idea that Germany can be conquered on their own soil will allow Scotland supporters to dream of a famous victory when the two teams kick off their Euro 2016 qualifying campaigns in Dortmund on Sunday, yet that must be tempered by reality. Only four members of the side which started the World Cup final lined up against Argentina last night and Strachan will anticipate an overhaul to the line up come Sunday.

Di Maria will also not feature in a Scotland jersey. That was never going to happen but it was still worth keeping in mind - a makeshift German defence was only picked apart by a player who became the most expensive import to British football only last week. He proved his value to his national team last night too, setting up goals for Sergio Aguero, Erik Lamela and Federico Fernandez within the first 50 minutes.

Mario Gomez - recalled to the squad having not been deemed fit enough to play at the World Cup - had the first chance of the game after six minutes but his shot struck Sergio Romero, the Argentina goalkeeper, in the face. The German striker then spurned two further chances in the first half and was jeered by a section of home fans at half-time. Should he prove as wayward on Sunday, he will be the darling of the Tartan Army.

The mood of the German fans was not helped by the sight of Di Maria teeing up two first-half goals, either. After 20 minutes, he curled a cross in behind the Germany defence with the outside of his left boot for Aguero to clip the ball into the roof of the net.

Di Maria then created the second goal just five minutes before the break, easing to the byeline and lifting a cross towards Lamela, who placed his shot past Manuel Neuer.

Roman Weidenfeller took his place in goal for the home side at half-time and was beaten two minutes later, as Fernandez headed in Di Maria's cross. The winger added the fourth with a dinked finish just three minutes later.

Germany responded in kind, with Schuerrle finding space in the penalty area to volley the ball past Romero and Goetze then watched as his effort deflected in off Fernandez.

Despite the scoreline, the prospect of meeting Germany on Sunday may still cause Scotland to quake. They are only human, after all.

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