By CAITLIN MURRAY
Calling it a rematch might be a bit generous — after all, a World Cup trophy wasn’t on the line and Germany’s starters included just four members of Jogi Löw’s starting summer squad. But in their first meeting since the World Cup final, Argentina bested the world champions on Wednesday, 4-2.
It may not mean much to Argentina, but Manchester United will surely be thrilled as new signing Angel di Maria had a part in all four of Argentina’s goals, setting up three and scoring one himself. After missing the World Cup final for injury, it was a bittersweet, splendid display from Di Maria, who joined Man United on Monday for £59.7 million.
In the 20th minute, Di Maria lobbed a cross past Germany’s defense for Sergio Aguero to knock it into the net from close range. Another 20 minutes later, Di Maria sent a ball from the end line into the box for Erik Lamela to volley into the net. Shortly after the second half start, Federico Fernandez headed a Di Maria cross home.
Three minutes after going up 3-0, Di Maria capped his dominant performance with a goal of his own, darting into the box to tap it past substitute goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller.
Germany attempted a comeback in front of a home crowd, with a 52nd-minute goal from Andre Schürrle and 78th-minute goal from Mario Götze, but it wasn’t enough.
Here is a rundown of international friendly results from Wednesday:
ROONEY PENALTY SALVAGES ENGLAND OVER NORWAY
With a disappointing World Cup behind them, England’s national team opened a new era with a 1-0 win over Norway on a Wayne Rooney penalty kick.
After a frustrating 68 minutes for the English at Wembley Stadium, Rooney found the breakthrough. English winger Raheem Sterling was blatantly tripped inside the box by Norway’s Omar Elabdellaou and Rooney easily knocked it home.
A somewhat unconvincing win may not be enough to quiet critics of manager Roy Hodgson, who will need to guide his side through Euro 2016 qualification starting next week, but England starts the new cycle having returned to winning ways.
England had the better of possession on the day, but struggled to breakdown Norway’s defense. Hodgson started in a familiar 4-4-2 and handed Everton defender John Stones his first start for England.
IRELAND BREEZES BY OMAN FOR FIRST WIN IN 7
Days away from their opening Euro 2016 qualifier on Sunday, a somewhat experimental Republic of Ireland squad coasted past Oman in Dublin, 2-0.
Kevin Doyle started things off in the 20th minute by heading home a Robbie Brady corner kick, his 14th international goal. In the 81st minute, Alex Pearce doubled the lead by firing a rebound in, his second goal in five caps for the Irish.
This was Ireland’s first win in seven matches. They will host the U.S. Men’s National Team in November for a friendly.
YOUNG DEFENDER LIFTS TURKEY TO WIN OVER DENMARK IN ADDED TIME
With a dramatic stoppage time goal from an unlikely source, Turkey found a 2-1 win over Denmark on Wednesday. Defender Ozan Tufan, 19, scored his first international goal in the 92nd minute to break a deadlock.
Denmark, the home side, opened scoring first with a 35th-minute goal by Daniel Agger. Turkey answered back in the 54th minute with a Olcay Şahan strike.
This was the first match Turkey had played since losing 2-1 to the U.S. Men’s National Team in June.
USA 1-0 Czech Republic (RECAP)
Lithuania 1-1 United Arab Emirates
Russia 4-0 Azerbaijan
Latvia 2-0 Armenia
Morocco 0-0 Qatar
What did you think of these results? Is Di Maria’s performance a hint of what to expect from struggling Manchester United’s new signing? Did Wednesday bode well for England and Ireland, two sides that have struggled lately but face Euro 2016 qualifiers next week?
Share your thoughts below.