Podolski says winning end to Germany career like something from a film
DORTMUND, Germany -- Lukas Podolski said the end of his international career with Germany had been "like a film" after his stunning strike beat England 1-0 in an international friendly.
In the last international game of a 13-year career, Podolski led the side out as captain and smashed the ball into the top corner from 25 yards to win the match with just over 20 minutes remaining.
England goalkeeper Joe Hart was given no chance, and Podolski had a look of incredulity as he wheeled away to celebrate.
"The way it ended today was like a film," Podolski said. "We win 1-0 and I score the thing.
"I know I have a left foot that was probably gifted to me by God, or someone up there, and I can always rely on it. I am proud of these last 13 years."
Asked what path his career would have taken if his right foot had been as strong as his left, he joked: "Then you'd have to invent a team for me. Barcelona or Real would not be enough."
Podolski said thousands of fans of Cologne, the club for which he played twice, had been present.
"From the atmosphere in the stadium you could see the connection I have with people from Cologne," he added.
"There were at least 30,000 people from Cologne in the stadium. It gives you goose bumps.
"That's when you know where your home is, and that you've done a lot of good, also off the pitch. That makes me very proud.
"Thank you Dortmund, thank you Cologne and thank you Germany."
The 31-year-old had been honoured before his 130th game for Germany and had his name chanted by fans during the match.
He received a standing ovation when he went off in the closing stages, and joined fans to return their affection after the game.
Only 1990 World Cup-winning captain Lothar Matthaus and all-time top scorer Miroslav Klose have made more appearances for Germany.
"Special players deserve a special farewell. It's great for him," Germany coach Joachim Low said.
Podolski's teammate Thomas Muller took the chance to joke with the departing World Cup winner, suggesting that the ending was "too cheesy" to qualify for a Hollywood script as no one would believe it.
"You couldn't write a better script," Muller said.
"Now it's about enjoying it all. Normally the stadium is empty 10 minutes after the final whistle, but everyone is still here to celebrate Poldi. It's outstanding.
"Poldi is a special one, a special kind. You do not make 130 appearances just like that. We will miss him at the coming tournaments."
A giant banner in front of the Westfalenstadion's south stand read: "130 games, 48 goals, a legend. Thanks Lukas."