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Lukas Podolski scores twice for Germany in 2-0 win over Poland at Euro 2008

Lukas Podolski scores twice for Germany in 2-0 win over Poland at Euro 2008

A Poland-born German was the difference maker at the European Championship.
Lukas Podolski scored both goals Sunday to give three-time champion Germany a strong start at the European Championship with a 2-0 win over his native Poland, which remained winless against the Germans in 16 tries. Germany has won 12 of those matches.
With family members in the stadium, Podolski was eager to lift his adopted nation to victory. Podolski was born in Poland but went to Germany as a child and became a citizen.
"My dad and uncle and relatives from Poland were there in the stands," Podolski said. "They're going home tonight, so that's why I went there (to the stands). I didn't celebrate very much because I was born in Poland, I have a big family there, and you have to have some respect for the land."
Normally a striker, Podolski started as a left midfielder and justified the selection by scoring in the 20th minute. Mario Gomez flicked the ball through the defense to Miroslav Klose, who squared to Podolski with goalkeeper Artur Boruc scrambling to get back.
In the 73rd, Bastian Schweinsteiger shook off a half-hearted challenge by Pawel Golanski and fed Klose, who mis-kicked the ball but it bounced to Podolski, who volleyed it in from close range.
"It was one game, we won, we wanted to win, but we have to improve against Croatia," he said of Germany's next opponent in Group B, who beat co-host Austria 1-0 in Vienna.
"It was a bit more difficult to play against Poland two years ago (at the World Cup). They were defensively good today, but I think they wanted to play a little bit more with us. It was easier than two years ago."
Germany coach Joachim Loew said the performance was as important as the result.
"Naturally we are pleased with the result," he said. "We had to find out where we stand as a team, because it's the first game. We are a good team, we played very well. It was a demonstration of our will, of our desire."
Poland coach Leo Beenhakker said his team was far from outplayed.
"We had some good possibilities," the Dutchman said. "There was a moment in the second half where we were totally dominating the game. But after the second goal, it was over. We played for 70 minutes at the same level as them. The last 20 minutes we want to forget."
Now, he has to lift his beaten team for its next game against Austria in Vienna on Thursday.
"Everybody was upset about the result and not happy, but we are still in the tournament and that's what it's all about," Beenhakker said. "We have three or four days to recover physically and mentally and it's part of being a professional. Everybody is a bit upset now. Tomorrow we will see how the team is, then we will start up again. Knowing these guys are mentally strong and against Austria, they will be ready."
Gomez did better in setting up his teammates than finishing himself. Early in the game, Klose used a perfect through ball from Michael Ballack to feed Gomez, but the striker could not prod the ball it in despite sliding at the far post. Later, he collected a good cross from Clemens Fritz but shot wide. Klose, with his back to the net, tried to touch the ball in but missed.
Poland, winless against Germany in 15 previous games, came out with determination and ambition to wipe out 75 years of frustration and nearly scored a couple of minutes into the match. Germany goalkeeper Jens Lehmann collided with central defender Per Mertesacker and the ball rolled to Jacek Krzynowek, but his shot went high.
Wojciech Lobodzinski, who sent several useful crosses from the right in the first half, found Maciej Zuravski in the 36th, but he drove his volley way over the crossbar.
With Germany seeking to secure victory, Philipp Lahm charged down the right and crossed to Ballack, who sent a volley but Boruc made a tremendous save by tipping the ball over with his left hand in the 70th.
In the other Group B game, Croatia beat co-host Austria 1-0 in Vienna.
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Lineups:
Germany: Jens Lehmann; Philipp Lahm, Christoph Metzelder, Per Mertesacker, Marcell Jansen, Clemens Fritz (Bastian Schweinsteiger, 55), Michael Ballack, Torsten Frings, Lukas Podolski, Mario Gomez (Thomas Hitzlsperger, 75th), Miroslav Klose (Kevin Kuranyi, 90).
Poland: Artur Boruc, Pawel Golanski (Marek Saganowski, 75), Jacek Bak, Michal Zewlakow, Marcin Wasilewski, Jacek Krzynowek, Dariusz Dudka, Mariusz Lewandowski, Wojciech Lobodzinski (Lukasz Piszczek, 65), Euzebiusz Smomlarek, Maciej Zurawski (Roger Guerreiro, 45).


Updated : 2020-12-02 15:45 GMT+08:00