Messi misses penalty; Argentina beat Germany


FRANKFURT, Germany — Lionel Messi scored one goal and missed a penalty Wednesday as Argentina beat 10-man Germany 3-1 in a friendly, revenge of sorts for the Germans’ 4-0 win in the 2010 World Cup quarterfinals.

Germany substitute goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen saved the Barcelona star’s weak penalty with his first touch of the ball.

The 20-year-old ter Stegen had just replaced Ron-Robert Zieler, who became Germany’s first goalkeeper to be sent off in an international for bringing down Jose Sosa in the 30th minute.

Argentina took the lead in first-half injury time, when Semi Khedira deflected Angel di Maria’s corner into his own net, before Messi made amends for his earlier miss by scoring in the 52nd minute.

Di Maria made it 3-0 with a thunderous strike from distance in the 73rd, while defender Benedikt Hoewedes headed an 82nd-minute consolation goal for the home side.

"It’s hard to judge this game because we played well for the first 20 minutes or so. Then we had the sending off and the own goal, which made it very hard for us," Germany coach Joachim Loew said.

It was his country’s first defeat in Frankfurt since a 3-1 loss to Switzerland in November 1956.

The hosts started with six changes from the team that lost 2-1 to Italy in the Euro 2012 semifinals, with captain Philipp Lahm, for one, excused for the birth of his son, Julian, earlier on Wednesday.

Nevertheless, Germany started brightly, with Miroslav Klose breaking forward on the left where Marco Reus cut the ball back for Mesut Oezil, only for his effort to be blocked.

Oezil was denied again in the 12th, when Sergio Romero got down well to save, but Germany was enjoying repeated success on the left wing, where Marco Reus was causing major problems for the Argentine defence.

Marcos Rojo went close for the visitors as they began to compete, but the game was dramatically altered with Zieler’s sending off. The unlucky 23-year-old was left shaking his head as he departed his second international.

Ter Stegen made the most of his chance to shine as he faced Messi. The 20-year-old Borussia Moenchengladbach goalkeeper was a late call up after regular No. 1 Manuel Neuer pulled out citing a hip injury.

"I’m simply happy to have saved the penalty," ter Stegen said. "You can’t say much more than that."

Reus almost played Oezil through again, but Romero reacted quickly, before Messi began to show his magic with some bewitching play to elude three Germany defenders.

Argentina scored when Khedira’s miss-hit clearance sent his Real Madrid teammate’s corner into his own net.

"I’m very sorry," Khedira said. "It was, I think, my first own goal in my career. But that’s part of football."

Reus hit the post with a fantastic strike from outside the area after the break, before Messi dispatched the ball past ter Stegen some wonderful interplay between Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain.

"It’s hard against these players to keep everything compact, particularly when you have a man less," Loew said.

Messi was unlucky not to score another soon afterward after he chipped the goalkeeper only to see the ball scrape by the far post.

Germany substitute Andre Schuerrle drew a smart save from Romero, before di Maria scored with a fierce left-footed strike.

Messi followed up some more scintillating play by hitting the post as Argentina went in search of a fourth.

Germany rallied, however, and substitute Mario Goetze cut the ball back for Hoewedes to score with a diving header.



Germany: Ron-Robert Zieler, Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels (Benedikt Hoewedes, 25), Holger Badstuber, Marcel Schmelzer, Sami Khedira (Ilkay Guendogan, 69), Lars Bender (Mario Goetze, 74), Marco Reus, Mesut Oezil (Toni Kroos, 69), Thomas Muller (Marc-Andre ter Stegen, 32), Miroslav Klose (Andre Schuerrle, 62).

Argentina: Sergio Romero, Pablo Zabaleta (Hugo Campagnaro, 65), Federico Fernandez, Ezequiel Garay, Marcos Rojo, Fernando Gago, Javier Mascherano (Rodrigo Brana, 79), Angel di Maria (Pablo Guinazu, 73), Jose Sosa (Sergio Aguero, 46), Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain.

Referee: Jonas Eriksson (Sweden).

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