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Tuesday 19 September 2017

Podolski the hero in final game for Germany

Germany 1 England 0

Lukas Podolski celebrates
Lukas Podolski celebrates

England promised much but Gareth Southgate's first match as permanent manager ended in defeat as Lukas Podolski marked his final Germany appearance with a stunning winner.

Handed the reins after an encouraging four-match interim stint, the former defender deployed a bold, attack-minded side built upon a three-man backline and got an impressive response in Dortmund.

England looked comfortable in possession and a far larger threat than the World Cup winners, only to be caught cold as Podolski's 130th and final Germany appearance ended with a fairytale strike that secured a 1-0 win.

It was a sickener considerinSouthgate's experimental three-man defence worked well and his attackers' intensity caused no end of problems, with Adam Lallana hitting the post as England looked to turn first-half dominance into an opening goal.

Stunning

Germany lacked such force in their play as the focus on Podolski's final appearance seemed to take the edge off their play, only for the former Arsenal man to wind back the years by unleashing a stunning 25-yard goal. It was a fitting end to a fine international career.

Meanwhile, Scotland had to come from behind against lowly Canada to grab a 1-1 draw in their challenge match at Easter Road.

Falkirk midfielder Fraser Aird fired the visitors into a shock lead in the 10th minute following a mix-up in the Scots defence.

Steven Naismith equalised in the 34th minute when he turned a wayward shot by debutant Tom Cairney into the net but the visitors, ranked 117th in the world, merited a draw in game which served as a warm-up for Scotland's crunch World Cup qualifier against Slovenia at Hampden Park on Sunday.

Scotland explored a more direct route as the second-half progressed but with no more success.

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