German attacker Lukas Podolski has hanged his boots in international duties in style by scoring a cracker against England on Wednesday night. Podolski’s solo goal ensured all the bragging rights for the World Cup holders as Gareth Southgate suffered his first defeat in charge of England.
Southgate had been undefeated in four games as interim manager following Sam Allardyce’s abrupt departure from the England post after one match. The Three Lions were however unlucky as Adam Lallana struck a post and Dele Alli saw his shot blocked at point-blank range by Germany keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen in the first half.
It was almost inevitable, however, that former Arsenal striker Podolski, given a hero’s reception before, during and after the game, made the decisive contribution with a rising left-foot drive from outside the area after 69 minutes that gave England keeper Joe Hart no chance.
Podolski was given a presentation and delivered a speech that delayed the kick-off by several minutes while Germany fans unveiled a celebratory mosaic to a hugely popular figure in this country.
The goal scorer had had say on his last match representing the nation: “It was like in a movie, dear god gave me a strong left foot and I used it tonight. It was a great game, a great result and a great way to say goodbye. That gave me goose bumps to get a reception like that,” he said.
The 31-year-old striker was ended his career after 130 caps, 49 goals and a World Cup win in 2014, a goodbye said in some style even apart from his spectacular final goal.
However, Gareth Southgate had his comments on the lost friendly as he revealed that despite the defeat he was proud of what his aside did.
“We have to reflect on a very good performance – a new system that I felt worked well and allowed us to control possession of game but also create chances. They’ve scored a fairy tale goal, but I’ve got to be proud of what the players have done, “Southgate said.