Germany, England battle in Podolski's send-off friendly in Dortmund

Now sitting two points clear at the top of their World Cup qualifying group, England are expected to seal their spot at Russian Federation 2018, but the expectation levels from fans could be at an all-time low after being humiliated at the last two major tournaments.

England Playing Lineup: Hart; Keane, Smalling, Cahill; Walker, Dier, Livermore, Bertrand; Lallana, Vardy, Alli.

Podolski, who won the 2014 World Cup with Germany, will join Japanese side Vissel Kobe after the Turkish season ends in May.

Loew has a lengthy injury list and hopes to get some of his stars back in time for Sunday's away qualifier with Germany five points clear in their group.

It's the icing on the cake for an global career which began in 2004 as Germany looked to rebuild their fortunes around a new generation of talent which also included Philipp Lahm and Bastian Schweinsteiger and later were joined by the likes of Mesut Ozil, Manuel Neuer, Marco Reus, Thomas Muller and Mario Gotze among many others. "It gets them into positions where they can be really risky, really effective", he said.

"It will be tight for us up front".

The former Arsenal striker settled the Dortmund friendly against the Three Lions with a 30-yard screamer to call time on an worldwide career spanning 130 games over 13 years.

A minute later, Keane blazed a glorious chance for a debut goal over the bar as a corner fell loose in the Germany area before Adam Lallana spurned an even better opportunity.

"God or whoever gave me a left foot and it has served me well over the years".

" We've also got some intelligent footballers in there, and it's pleasing for me, because I think we needed that ability, and we showed it tonight".

England boss Gareth Southgate insists the glimmers of Three Lions promise were not dimmed by the disappointment of losing his first match in permanent charge of his country against Germany in Dortmund. "Most pleasing of all is the new tactical system we tried, the players carried it out very well and it suited the players we had", he said, according to Sky Sports.

"I don't know how much he paid for the England goalkeeper to let it in", World Cup-winning teammate Thomas Mueller joked.

"The goal was a wonderful strike and I'm sure we will look back at how we could have closed it down, but it was unstoppable for Joe Hart".

"We have to reflect on a very good performance", the former Middlesbrough manager told BBC Radio 5 live.

And he should be very proud - though we're gutted he didn't come off the pitch and shout 'ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?' to the packed stadium.

  • Julie Sanders