In Germany's first match on home soil since winning the World Cup they faced a familiar opponent: Argentina — the team beaten in the final by Mario Gotze's extra-time winner. There was a celebratory atmosphere as the German team wore a fourth star on their shirts for the first time and the trio of players who have retired from international play since returning from Brazil (Per Mertesacker, Miroslav Klose, and captain Philipp Lahm) were honored before the friendly kicked off. But one thing was missing: the World Cup trophy itself.
According to journalist Raphael Honigstein, this was done on purpose out of respect for Argentina. Because we live in a painfully delicate age where footballers can't celebrate goals against their former clubs and countries can't display trophies when the team they beat fair and square comes to town.
The German FA have decided to keep the World Cup out of sight as a courtesy to #ARG.— Raphael Honigstein (@honigstein) September 3, 2014
The fans in Dusseldorf had more banterish ideas, though...
Argentina, under new manager Tata Martino, carried out a different method of winning respect for themselves once the match began. Namely, by winning.
With Man United record signing Angel Di Maria showing how much better the World Cup final could have been had he not been injured in the quarterfinals, Argentina jumped out to a 2-0 lead at halftime thanks to goals from Kun Aguero and Erik Lamela. The lead was extended to a whopping 4-0 by the 50th minute when Di Maria scored a goal of his own after notching a hat trick of assists. Finally, Germany saved a bit of face when Andre Schurrle scored in the 52nd minute and Gotze added one more for a bit of Brazil deja vu in the 78th minute. Still, Argentina won 4-2. And they did it without World Cup Golden Ball winner Lionel Messi.
Sadly, they didn't think to make a "double or nothing" bet with Germany before the match started.
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