Lukas Podolski’s Swan Song
Today’s international friendly between these two soccer fueled nations is more than a friendly. The battle to see how prepared for World Cup 2018, begins in these friendlies that are to come. Let us not forget that Germany is the reigning champ winning the World Cup in 2014; where they beat Argentina, captained by one of the world’s best players Lionel Messi, in the closing seconds of the second overtime half. Germany vs England is also Lukas Podolski’s final match with the Germany National Team, after a long and illustrious career he hangs up his international boots.
England started off the game looking to strike quickly. That was the plan so it seemed to me, but Germany’s defense was too much for the English. More importantly, the German counter attack was always going to be a threat. After the first couple of minutes, the German possession was seen throughout the entire match. In my eyes, the Germany squad kept the majority of the possession through the first half; yet even with all the possession, no goal came from it.
Joe Hart (England Goalkeeper) didn’t have to move much to stop the shots being taken at him. It looked like he felt extremely comfortable between the woodwork (Goal Posts). That did not stop the German opposition from taking shots, though many of the shots were from distance and not on target. Promise of a goal came from Lukas Podolski (Captain for the Game), but as mentioned Joe Hart felt comfortable and made the stop with ease.
On the other end Marc-Andre ter Stegen (German Goalkeeper) had a bit more work to do. Many of the England’s shots looked very dangerous and looked to break the deadlock. The German defense was there, though, to assist their Goalkeeper to clear the danger away and keep the deadlock going.
The first half of the match was a very German possession based, but despite them having most of the possession no goal came from them. England is not far behind though, although they did not have a lot of the possession they looked dangerous anytime they got the chance to shoot on goal. At the end of the first 45 minutes, the score remained a 0-0; both counter attacks looked dangerous, the defenses were solid at clearing the ball from inside the box, and goalkeepers had not trouble with keeping the ball out of their net. Hopefully the deadlock ends in the second half.
The second half got underway by Germany. After a few touches by the Germans, the English reestablished their aggressiveness and pushed forward. They created various opportunities once more, but to no avail. The German defense was there to make the clearance and concede the corners, while standing firm between the post for them was ter Stegen. It was a picture much like the first half, one team claiming possession of the ball early and often, while the other had to settle for the scraps.
All this did not take away from either teams counter attack; each team looking dangerous every time they gained possession by the other’s miscue in a pass, cross, or through ball. Back and forth the attacks went from England rushing down with the ball switching quickly to Germany running right back the other way; each team looking dangerous with each possession that they had wanting to break the deadlock.
Then sooner rather than later the deadlock was broken. In the 69th minute of the match Lukas Podolski shoots a missile with authority and it winds up in the back of the need. The shot was directed to the upper right hand corner where Hart had absolutely no chance of making the save. The Captain for the match finds himself breaking the deadlock and giving Germany the 1-0 lead against England.
That doesn’t deter England from fighting to try to find the equalizer to make tie the match at 1. The counter attack comes time and time again, but the German blockade shows no sign of cracking. Shot after shot is blocked by the defender deflecting the ball away from goal or conceding the corner. ter Stegen is forced to come out and make some big stops to not concede the goal as well.
The minute’s ticked away edging closer and closer to the close of the game. England was not deterred from trying to score an equalizer; they looked dangerous in every counter attack and every shot. Although they fought and fought, it was to no avail as the German wall did not budge and the man between the posts secured the ball when he had too. Even with three minutes added to the match, England could not find an equalizer and at the final whistle…..Lukas Podolski’s final goal for the National Team gave Germany the defining win over England.
Although the game was only a friendly, both teams looked to get a leg up on the other. World Cup 2018 is right around the corner and any momentum that can be picked up from now until then is welcomed. While Germany was not looking as strong as they can look, I give it to them because many of the starters were their youth players getting a chance to show they deserve a call up. On the other hand, England had many new faces in its squad also allowing their youth to show them they deserve more minutes in the first team.