By Williams ‘Bantu’ Irubor
Lukas Podolski signed off his international career with a sensational strike as Germany inflicted England’s first defeat under Gareth Southgate with a 1-0 win in Dortmund on Wednesday.
Podolski, making his 130th and final appearance for Germany, brought the curtain down on his career in style, powering his 49th international goal home from 25 yards in the 69th minute to seal victory for the current world champions.
Until that point, England dominated for large parts at the Signal Iduna Park, although the team was youthful and largely experimental. Adam Lallana struck the post in the first half as the visitors failed to convert their dominance into goals.
However, despite tasting defeat, there will be more positives than negatives for England, whose encouraging display served as perfect preparation for Sunday’s World Cup Qualifier with Lithuania at Wembley.
In the first game since his appointment as permanent England boss, Southgate opted for an untried line-up, with Burnley’s Michael Keane making his national team debut in a three-man defence system.
Jake Livermore ended more than four years in the international wilderness, making his first England appearance since a friendly win over Italy in August 2012.
Germany paid tribute to Podolski ahead of his final cap before retirement, but the first half was anything but celebratory as England dominated from the first whistle.