Lukas Podolski hails Gareth Southgate for stopping England from playing 'rugby'

Ross Houston
March 30, 2017

But Podolski - starting an worldwide match for the first time in 859 days - thumped his side's first shot on target of the match into the net in the 69th minute, and although England pushed for a leveller, they were unable to muster the sort of comeback that saw them come from 2-0 down to win 3-2 in Berlin a year previously.

The game was turned on its head minutes later, and who else on a night like this than the departing Podolski would cause Hart's net to bulge from long range with a timely opener?

The signs were certainly encouraging until Lukas Podolski marked his farewell appearance with a stunner from 25 yards to seal victory for the hosts, and Lallana praised the tactical switch.

The 46-year-old is charged with shaping the new era that was meant to be Sam Allardyce's province, but which ended after one World Cup qualifying win in Slovakia when the now Crystal Palace manager was caught in a newspaper sting.

"Today was like a film", Podolski said in an interview with German television. It gives you goose bumps.

"We have to reflect on a very good performance", the former Middlesbrough manager told BBC Radio 5 live.

Joe Hart had a word with the match-winner at the final whistle and, when asked what the keeper said, Podolski grinned and said: "F***ing brilliant shot!"

The clash in Dortmund was arranged by the German FA as a farewell to Podolski after an worldwide career which included 49 goals and a World Cup win.

Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana said the new system brought more balance to the team, saying it allowed the players to "express themselves".

"We had to be creative because we couldn't train on the field too many times but we were able to walk through certain things".

Fairy tale finish for Podolski "There were a couple of chances in both halves".

Lukas Podolski's superb second-half goal settled the friendly and Werner had few chances to impress, although Germany's coach Joachim Loew was pleased with his performance.

"Special players deserve a special farewell". My last game against a good team in a very nice stadium.

If it was slightly peculiar to see Germany looking so susceptible on their own ground, it was worth noting that Joachim Löw's team quickly gave the impression they meant to address the match at three-quarter pace and would be grateful if their opponents did likewise.

Now sitting two points clear at the top of their World Cup qualifying group, England are expected to seal their spot at Russian Federation 2018, but the expectation levels from fans could be at an all-time low after being humiliated at the last two major tournaments.

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