Messi inspires Argentine win

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi couldn't quite get on the scoresheet against Germany. Photo: PA

Argentina got the better of 10-man Germany at the Waldstadion in Frankfurt with Lionel Messi missing a penalty and hitting the post in an entertaining game.

Messi missed from the spot in the 32nd minute after Germany goalkeeper Ron Robert Zieler was sent off, before an own goal from Sami Khedira put Argentina ahead at the break.

Messi made it two in the 52nd minute and Angel di Maria added a third in the 73rd minute before Benedikt Howedes grabbed a late consolation for the hosts.

Zieler had only been involved in the game once before he was off the field again after only his second intervention.

This one was against the rules as he pulled Jose Ernesto Sosa down to give away a penalty and see a red card on only his second appearance in the national team, the first being an equally-forgettable occasion when he conceded three in a draw with Ukraine.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen, whose Germany debut was equally forgettable, being the 5-3 defeat to Switzerland prior to Euro 2012, redeemed himself by denying Messi from the spot in the 32nd minute.

There was almost a similar incident at the other end when Ozil was sent through, but Sergio Romero was quick to pounce on the ball as the Real Madrid forward skipped past him.

Messi was again denied by Ter Stegen in the 39th minute when he let the ball get a bit too far in front of him while Miroslav Klose was only inches away from turning Marcel Schmelzer's cross in as the game opened up with Germany reduced to 10 men and Argentina becoming more adventurous.

The opening goal was in the air and it arrived on the stroke of half time with the Real Madrid pairing of Di Maria and Khedira combining with the former sending in a corner which the latter deflected into his own goal at the near post.

Gerany almost levelled in the 50th minute when Marco Reus' 25-yard shot struck the post. The ball fell to Khedira, but he was in an offside as he squared the ball for Klose to score a goal which was correctly ruled out.

Messi left Ter Stegen no chance with his next effort in the 52nd minute, a well-placed left-footed shot from just inside the penalty area which nestled in the bottom left-hand corner of the goal.

Messi missed the chance to wrap up victory in the 65th minute when he capitalised on a slip by Jerome Boateng and lifted his shot over the onrushing ter Stegen, but just wide of the far post.

But the game was effectively over in the 73rd minute when, moments before being substituted, Di Maria drilled in an unstoppable shot from fully 30 yards to earn gasps from much of a shocked yet appreciative crowd.

Messi rattled the post minutes later after dribbling his way past four Germany defenders, but there was a consolation for the hosts in the 81st minute when Borussia Dortmund midfielder Mario Gotze lifted the ball back from the goal line to his Schalke rival but Germany team mate Howedes, who headed powerfully into the opposite corner.