Germany vs Argentina
3 September 2014
Esprit Arena, Düsseldorf
Less than two months after the World Cup Final, where Germany defeated Argentina to become official FIFA and unofficial UFWC champions, the two sides come together for a rematch. This friendly, at the Esprit Arena in Düsseldorf, was arranged back in March, long before the World Cup took place in Brazil. The coincidental rematch gives Argentina the chance to gain some form of revenge. Although the FIFA title will remain with Germany for the next four years, the UFWC title is up for grabs as the winner-stays-on alternative football competition continues.
Challengers Argentina have a new coach. Alejandro Sabella quit after the World Cup, and was replaced by Gerardo Martino, who took the job after a relatively disappointing season in Spain with Barcelona, during which the club only managed to win the Spanish Super Cup. Martino, a former Argentina international player, has previously managed Paraguay, who he led to the 2010 World Cup quarter finals. He was in charge for a UFWC title match in 2009, which Paraguay drew 0-0 with then-champions the Netherlands.
Martino’s first Argentina squad contains few surprises, with no major changes required for a team that reached a World Cup final. However, unable to pick domestic-based players for this fixture, he has left out Fernando Gago, Agustin Orion and Maxi Rodriguez. New Manchester United signings Marcos Rojo and Angel Di Maria are both in the squad, alongside Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero, Pablo Zabaleta and Martin Demichelis, plus of course Lionel Messi and Javier Mascherano of Barcelona.
At the time of writing, Germany boss Joachim Loew has yet to announce his squad. The champions will be without their former captain Philipp Lahm and fellow defender Per Mertesacker, both of whom have retired from international football. Bastian Schweinsteiger has been touted as a new captain, but his persistent injury problems look likely to rule him out of this match. Thomas Muller and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer also have claims to the armband.
Germany are ranked seventh in the UFWC’s all-time rankings, while Argentina are third. FIFA ranks Germany and Argentina first and second respectively. Germany won the World Cup Final by a single goal, scored by Mario Goetze in extra time. Overall, the two sides have met 22 times, with Germany winning nine, and Argentina winning eight. So there seems little to choose between the two sides.
The match will be played on Wednesday 3 September at the 54,600-seater Esprit Arena in Düsseldorf. Four days later, Germany begin their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign with a qualifier against all-time UFWC champions Scotland. Argentina’s next match is a Superclassico gala match at Beijing’s Bird’s Nest Stadium on 11 October. We’ll continue to have full coverage of every UFWC title match right here. You can also keep up to date with all things UFWC via Twitter or Facebook.
You can find out everything you need to know about the UFWC in our official handbook, Unofficial Football World Champions, which contains a complete history of the unofficial competition. The 2014 edition is out now.