Angel di Maria inspired Argentina on a Dusseldorf mission over their World Cup final conquerors Germany as the Manchester United new boy scored once and set up three goals in a 4-2 victory.
Only four members of the Germany team which started the biggest match in world football on July 13 were selected, and the transformation from the Rio de Janeiro showpiece was dramatic.
Di Maria set up the first three goals for Sergio Aguero, Erik Lamela and Federico Fernandez before adding the fourth in a game filled with chances at both ends.
Argentina led 4-0 early in the second half but Andre Schurrle pulled a goal back for Germany before Fernandez turned a Mario Gotze effort into his own goal, on a night when only players from the English Premier League found the back of the net.
Mario Gomez had the first real chance of the game in the sixth minute, but his shot struck Sergio Romero in the face.
It was the first of three excellent chances wasted by the Fiorentina forward, who received some boos from the home fans when his best opportunity on the stroke of half-time went begging.
By then, Germany were already two goals down due to the vision and precision of Di Maria.
In the 20th minute, he curled a cross in behind the Germany defence with the outside of his left boot, serving the ball on a plate for Aguero to lift into the roof of the net from point-blank range.
Ten minutes later, Di Maria terrorised the Germany defence once more, choosing to shoot this time but placing his effort straight at Manuel Neuer.
Five minutes before the break, Di Maria got to the by-line and lifted the ball back for Tottenham’s Lamela to place perfectly into the top left-hand corner with a side-footed volley.
It became 3-0 for Argentina almost immediately in the second half when Swansea’s Fernandez arrived to head Di Maria’s cross past Germany’s replacement goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller with the aid of the far post.
Three minutes later, Di Maria crowned his excellent personal performance with a goal, racing in from the right before dinking the ball delicately past the onrushing Weidenfeller.
Germany grabbed a consolation just moments later when Schurrle was left in space in the centre to volley at Romero. The ball came back to the Chelsea forward off the Argentina goalkeeper and he converted at the second attempt.
Marco Reus hit the post as Germany attempted a comeback with Gotze’s wayward effort deflected into his own goal by Fernandez to bring the hosts back to within two goals.
There was not to be a dramatic comeback, though, as Argentina gained the merest modicum of revenge for defeat in Brazil, taking their chances in a way which will give them even more regret for the ones they wasted at the Maracana, when it really mattered.