4 Sep 2014

Wins for England and Argentina

10:55 am on 4 September 2014

New captain Wayne Rooney scored a penalty to give England an unconvincing 1-nil football friendly win over Norway at Wembley in their first match since the World Cup finals.

Raheem Sterling, England's most incisive player, was brought down by Omar Elabdellaoui for the 68th minute penalty which Manchester United's Rooney blasted into the top corner out of reach of goalkeeper Orjan Nyland for his 41st international goal.

Wayne Rooney playing against Norway 2014.

Wayne Rooney playing against Norway 2014. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Norway made it hard for the new England, rebuilding after failing to win a World Cup match in Brazil, with goalkeeper Joe Hart making a brilliant save from a header by Joshua King, who plays for English Championship (second tier) side Blackburn Rovers.

England are next away to Switzerland in their opening Euro 2016 Group E qualifier next week while Norway host Italy in Group H on Tuesday.

Meanwhile in Duesseldorf, a brilliant performance from Angel Di Maria spurred Argentina to a crushing 4-2 friendly win over world champions Germany in an entertaining rematch of July's World Cup final.

Despite the absence of injured captain Lionel Messi, Argentina ran circles around the World Cup winners on their home turf in the first match for both teams since Germany's 1-nil extra-time victory in the final in Brazil.

So impressive was the performance of the Argentine winger, who had missed the final through injury, in the Duesseldorf arena that even many of the German fans applauded his performance when he was replaced late in the match.

Germany coach Joachim Loew put only four of the starting 11 that won Germany's fourth World Cup on the pitch in the warm-up match for their Euro 2016 campaign that starts against Scotland.

Captain Philipp Lahm, striker Miroslav Klose and defender Per Mertesacker, who all retired following the World Cup triumph, were hailed by the sell-out crowd of 51,132 while several other key players were missing through injury.

The inexperienced Germany defence could not contain new Manchester United signing Di Maria in the first half.