You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Podolski crowns farewell with winner

dpa logodpa 22/03/2017

It was a fairytale ending for Lukas Podolski as he ended his international soccer career with a stunning winner for Germany against England.

Germany forward Lukas Podolski capped his international swan song with a sensational goal to give the world champions a 1-0 victory over England in a friendly on Wednesday.

Podolski, who captained the team for the first time from the start, could not have hoped for a more fitting finale to his 13-year Germany career, as he thundered in the winner in the 69th minute to take his goal tally to 49 in 130 international matches.

The 31-year-old's goal ensured an enterprising England suffered a bitter defeat having looked sharper than their hosts for much of the game and hit the woodwork in the first half.

England, who top World Cup qualifying Group F, next host Lithuania at Wembley on Sunday while Germany, five points clear at the top of Group C, travel to Azerbaijan.

Germany's Sami Khedira was ruled out hours before the game, joining a long list of absentees, including Manuel Neuer, Julian Draxler, Mario Gomez and Mesut Ozil, with coach Joachim Loew forced to make changes.

With youngsters Timo Werner, Julian Weigl, Julian Brandt and Leroy Sane starting, the Germans struggled to find their feet and England had three good chances to open the scoring through Jamie Vardy and Michael Keane, on his international debut.

Their biggest scoring opportunity came after 30 minutes when Adam Lallana took advantage of a Joshua Kimmich mistake to charge through but, with only Marc Andre ter Stegen to beat, his low, angled shot bounced off the post.

"If you looking at chances we had the better chances in the game, as simple as that," England defender Gary Cahill told ITV.

"I think we will look back and reflect that if we take our chances we would have won that game. It's a learning curve for us."

The visitors could not maintain their pressing game and pace into the second half before Podolski drilled home a shot from 25 metres out with his famed left foot to give keeper Joe Hart no chance.

"It's like a movie, the way it happened today. We win and I score the winning goal," a beaming Podolski told reporters.

"God or whoever gave me a left foot and it has served me well over the years."

Meanwhile, Scotland were held to a 1-1 home draw against Canada as Gordon Strachan's struggling side warmed up for this weekend's World Cup qualifier against Slovenia with another frustrating display.

Only a spattering of fans were inside Easter Road, the home of Edinburgh side Hibernian, to watch a flat encounter punctuated by few chances for either side.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon