Fairytale farewell...but not for England

Lukas Podolski signed off in style
Lukas Podolski signed off in style
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Germany’s Lukas Podolski made a fairytale farewell from international football, condemning Gareth Southgate to his first defeat as England manager with a stunning winner in Dortmund.

Podolski was making his 130th and final appearance for Germany and marked an emotional friendly with his 49th goal, a belter from 25 yards to seal a 1-0 win in the latest installment of his storied fixture.

It was tough luck on England, who had controlled proceedings up to his 69th-minute strike, but Adam Lallana’s solo effort against the post and a one-on-one miss from Dele Alli were as close as they came to beating Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Podolski had faded into the background after his pre-match starring role but he had one last treat up his sleeve.

Fed by a slick interchange between Kroos and Andre Schurrle and afforded space by England, he took aim from 25 yards and produced a stunning effort that soared past Hart and into the top corner.

The roar was loud and emotional in the arena, Podolski’s reaction genuine and joyous. It all felt strangely inevitable that the star of the show would take one last turn in the spotlight.

Sane almost put the home team 2-0 up while England were still digesting their disappointment, but Hart managed to throw out an arm and gather his shot.

After Podolski exited for the final time, unusually to some stirring classical music as the game continued, the final stages were given over to multiple substitutions and a flat finale for Southgate’s side.