Mixed feelings for Man of the Match Podolski

German Football
By German Football June 9, 2008 00:04

Mixed feelings for Man of the Match Podolski

Lukas Podolski admitted to having “mixed feelings” about scoring the goals against Poland which gave the German team a perfect start to their Euro 2008 campaign at the expense of his country of birth. His goals also ended Germany’s 12 year wait for a victory at the European Championships.

Podolski tapped the ball into an empty net on the 20 minute mark after Miroslav Klose, another Polish-born striker, burst through to set him up in the Group B game. Germany continued to threaten and made it 2-0 when Podolski volleyed home from 12 metres in the 72nd minute after the defence failed to clear.

Podolski celebrated neither goals because of his Polish roots. “Obviously I have mixed feelings,” said Podolski. “I was born in Poland and I have a big family there so it’s a very important thing for me. We applied what we worked on in training and must push forward from here.”

After the game ended, the German was named Man of the Match by the UEFA technical team, who deemed him the best performer on show at the Wörthersee Stadion. Roy Hodgson, a member of the nine-man team of experts, said of his display: “I think he was the obvious choice for the award because, apart from playing very well, he scored two goals.”

However, the award didn’t mean much to Podolski. “That doesn’t mean anything to me,” he told the German television station ZDF. “It was important we played a good match today. We won 2-0. We did what we set out to accomplish.”

Germany coach Joachim Loew lavished praise on Podolski. “For the past three weeks Lukas has worked very hard,” Loew told reporters. “He has amazing physical ability and potential. Lukas has an excellent shot. When he gets free for a shot it’s very tough for a goalkeeper to stop him. For us Lukas has always played well,” said Loew. “But even for Bayern, when he played, he had good performances because otherwise he would not be part of the national team.

“Podolski scored both goals for us today and he has the ability to play both positions,” the coach added referring to the attacking midfield role the two-goal striker adopted against Poland. “He can come from deep in midfield and play like today.” Low added: ‘As coach you keep asking yourself where your team is right up until kick-off, because during the three weeks building up to the tournament you don’t have a possibility to measure yourself. We played as a team. We had one main focus, which was to win our opening match – and that’s what we did. I think the team proved their perseverance, their concentration; during the first half we had a number of very good moves.”

German Football
By German Football June 9, 2008 00:04
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