Germany remain stuck on 499 wins from 864 internationals after a 3-1 defeat to Argentina in Frankfurt on Wednesday evening, although the result was no disgrace for the team featuring three Germany men in the starting line-up following keeper Ron Robert Zieler’s sending-off on the half-hour. Elsewhere, there were wins for Xherdan Shaqiri and Daniel van Buyten, draws for Franck Ribéry and Anatoliy Tymoshchuk, and defeats for Arjen Robben and Mario Mandzukic.
Holder Badstuber, Jerome Boateng and Thomas Müller started for the Germans against the two-time World Cup winners, Boateng moving from right-back to centre half midway through the first period after Mats Hummels went off injured. Toni Kroos entered the fray after 69 minutes. Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Manuel Neuer and Mario Gomez were all excused international duty on this occasion.
Brief appearance for Müller
The Frankfurt crowd saw a lively friendly match with both teams set up to attack, the Argentine line led by world player of the year Lionel Messi. The Germans made the better start and Mezut Ozil might have opened the scoring from a Miroslav Klose pass, but keeper Romero made a good save. Müller was next to show but saw his effort scrambled clear.
The game exploded into life with the half-hour approaching when Zieler brought down former FCB man José Sosa in the box, earning Argentina a penalty and the goalkeeper a straight red card. Müller was sacrificed at this point in favour of replacement goalie Marc-André ter Stegen, who made a stunning entry by saving Messi’s weakly-struck spot-kick. However, the visitors did finally take the lead in first half stoppage time when Sami Khedira unluckily turned an Angel di Maria corner into his own net.
Shaqiri triumphs over Mandzukic
Germany went for broke after the interval, but Marco Reus hit the post and although Ozil netted the rebound, the Real Madrid man was offside. Argentina clinically doubled the advantage shortly afterwards when Higuain picked out Messi, the Barcelona superstar firing home from the edge of the box. The South Americans now used their man over to full advantage and moved three goals ahead after 73 minutes when di Maria smacked home a 30-yard thunderbolt. The Germans were finally rewarded for never giving up on a lost cause when Benedikt Howedes headed home with nine minutes to play.
Elsewhere, Xherdan Shaqiri finished on the winning side for Switzerland against fellow FCB newcomer Mario Mandzukic and his Croatia team mates. Shaq played the full 90 minutes, but Mario was substituted at half-time. The home side scored twice through Eduardo, but Xhaka, Barnetta and Gavranovic (2) sealed Switzerland's 4-2 victory in Split.
Daniel defeats Arjen
In the second head-to-head between Bayern men, Daniel van Buyten and Belgium earned the bragging rights in the Low Countries with a thrilling 4-2 victory in Brussels over neighbours the Netherlands and Arjen Robben. The home side took the lead through Benteke, but Narsingh and Huntelaar struck twice in a minute after the restart to turn the game on its head. However, the Red Devils struck back and ruined new Dutch boss Louis van Gaal’s debut with three goals in five minutes from Mertens, Lukaku and Vertonghen. Robben played the full 90 minutes, with Van Buyten in action for one half of the game.
Franck Ribéry also completed a whole match for France, but new boss Didier Deschamps’ side were held to a goalless draw at home by Uruguay. There were also no goals in the match between Ukraine and their captain Anatoliiy Tymoshchuk and Czech Republic in Odessa.