Angel Di Maria's devastating display in Argentina's 4-2 friendly win against Germany was an act of World Cup "revenge," according to media in his home country, while the press in the home of the world champions branded Joachim Low's team "four-star failures."
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Manchester United midfielder Di Maria's performance -- in which he set up his side's first three goals before scoring the fourth -- got new Argentina coach Gerardo "Tata" Martino's reign off to an excellent start, and it was suggested the 59.7 million-pound signing had gone into the game in Dusseldorf with extra energy after his recent big-money move to Old Trafford.
"Tata has an angel" was the headline in the Ole match report, which said: "Tata has an Angel, without a doubt. He himself and Di Maria, who he put on the right, and who put on a personal show in Dusseldorf... Di Maria, who did not play the World Cup final in Rio due to injury, was revved up after his move to United, with the energy of a 15-year-old kid."
In Di Maria's former home of Madrid, AS' report on the game described his performance as "stratospheric," and it said his display had been due to anger at missing both the World Cup final and being shown the door by Real Madrid president Florentino Perez.
"Argentina get revenge on Germany with a stratospheric Di Maria." It began: "Di Maria disguised himself as [Lionel] Messi in Dusseldorf. With Leo absent, the recent Manchester United signing took on the responsibility and annihilated Germany with a sublime display.
"Wanting to redeem himself after his controversial exit from Real Madrid, and angry about having missed the World Cup final through injury, 'el Fideo' ('the noodle') completed one of the best games of his career: three assists and a goal."
Marca's piece on the game suggested last summer's final would have been very different had the ex-Madrid man not missed the game through injury: "What would have happened in the World Cup final with Di Maria on the pitch? We do not know, and we will never know. We can just confirm -- as happened in Brazil until he got injured -- that Argentina need 'el Fideo' to fuel themselves."
German media did not spare Low's young side following the defeat which ended almost two months of post-Brazil euphoria in the country.
"Thank God that we are already World Cup winners," the tabloid Bild said in its headline, and labelled the defeat a "four-star failure" in reference to the number of stars on the Germany jerseys to denote their four triumphs in the tournament.
"Dear Argentines, we'll give you that win," it said. "We anyhow won the important match."
Die Welt singled out the "blatant flaws" in the new-formed defence and declared: "World champions Germany fall flat on their faces. The flush is over."
The national newspaper added: "Numerous times Di Maria, who missed the final through injury, presented the new centre-back line of [Benedikt] Howedes and [Matthias] Ginter with problems they could not solve."
Der Spiegel noted that only four players who started the final in Rio de Janeiro also began the game in Dusseldorf, but still expressed concern about "the blatant holes at the full-back positions, the sloppy defensive work of the midfield, and the waste of chances ahead of the Argentina goal."
However, despite the defeat the paper maintained perspective, given that the game was merely an international friendly.
"That's OK -- for Wednesday, which was largely dedicated to celebrating the World Cup title. But from Sunday on the World Cup win no longer counts," it said, and looked ahead to the European Championship qualifier against Scotland.
Weekly football magazine kicker called the result a "False start with four stars" on its front page. One of the four pages dedicated to the Argentina match had the headline "Chaos in the German defence," and its rankings saw defenders Erik Durm and Matthias Ginter and attacker Mario Gomez given the lowest possible score.
Suddeutsche Zeitung's piece had the headline "Farewell from Rio" and began: "The banks of the Rhein instead of Copacabana, Altbier instead of Caipirinha, swaying songs instead of Samba. The return to everyday life after the Brazil frenzy could not have been more dismal."