Philipp Lahm is considered one of the best full backs of his generation. Lahm is right-footed but is able to play on both sides of the pitch. He often cuts from the flank to the inside of the pitch to either shoot or pass. He is renowned for his pace, dribbling and precise tackling abilities as well as his small size.
However, in the past 2013/2014 season at Bayern Munich, under new trainer Pep Guardiola, Lahm has been played as a defensive midfielder with great success. This has also prompted national trainer Jochim Low to consider playing him as a defensive midfielder at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Lahm was included in the World Cup team of the tournament in 2006 and 2010, the UEFA Team of the Tournament in 2008 and 2012 and in the UEFA Team of the Year 2006, 2008, 2012 and 2013.
Lahm made his national team debut on 18 February 2004, at 20 years of age. His first game was a 2–1 win over Croatia, where he played the full 90 minutes and was chosen as the man of the match. He was also part of Germany’s team in the Euro 2004 in Portugal and played the full 90 minutes in all three games. Although Germany did not make it past the group stage, Lahm’s performance was considered very promising and one of the few promising aspects of a disastrous Euro 2004 campaign.
Even though he injured his elbow in a friendly game right before the 2006 World Cup in Germany and thus had to wear a special cast on his left arm, Jürgen Klinsmann still started him at the left back position. He scored the first goal in the opening game of the World Cup in Germany against Costa Rica in the sixth minute, cutting inside the area and launching a right foot shot into the top-right corner of the net. He was awarded Man of the Match for his performance in the second group game against Poland. He was also the only German player to play the complete 690 minutes of the World Cup and was also elected to the All Star Team of the tournament.
During Euro 2008, he was in Germany’s starting line-up in all games and was only substituted in the final after getting a cut needing stitches on his foot. Lahm started the tournament as a right back but was moved to left back mid way through the second game. On 25 June 2008, he scored the winning goal of the Euro 2008 semi-final against Turkey in the 90th minute. He described this as the most important goal of his career and although he was elected Man of the Match, he himself didn’t consider this as well-deserved.
Following the withdrawal of regular captain Michael Ballack from the 2010 World Cup squad due to injury, Lahm was chosen to captain the team. On 13 June 2010, he captained the German National Team in the opening game against Australia, becoming the youngest player to captain a German side in a World Cup tournament. Lahm’s captaincy would later become permanent.
At Euro 2012, Lahm was ever-present in the German defence and attracted praise from a variety of sources. He scored the opening goal in their 4–2 victory over Greece in the quarter finals.
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