Lukas Podolski: England 'used to play like a rugby team'

England suffered their first defeat under manager Gareth Southgate after losing 1-0 to Germany in a friendly in Dortmund.

Podolski, who captained the team for the first time from the start, could not have hoped for a more fitting finale to his 13-year Germany career, as he thundered in the victor in the 69th minute to take his goal tally to 49 in 130 worldwide matches.

"I'm very pleased with what we learned, the manner of the performance, and the one bit we missed was the finish".

Podolski said: 'I don't know why they (Arsenal fans) are doing this (protesting).

Marc-Andre ter Stegen gets the nod between the sticks after Manuel Neuer was ruled out, while Lukas Podolski captains the side in his final appearance for his country.

Podolski's teammate Thomas Muller took the chance to joke with the departing World Cup victor, suggesting that the ending was "too cheesy" to qualify for a Hollywood script as no one would believe the ending.

The 31-year-old received a standing ovation in Dortmund after a pre-match presentation to mark his 13-year global career.

England, who saw Dier send a free kick just over, created a great chance four minutes from the end of the first half, with Vardy slipping in the unmarked Dele Alli, but the Tottenham midfielder could only direct his effort straight at ter Stegen.

"We haven't got the win which we would have liked, but I think people can see the commitment of the players in the way that they played". "We played well today, especially first half". "It has cleared up a lot of things, it has helped a lot of players, but it has helped the coaching staff in particular to where we are going on Sunday".

Not that Germany made many chances, during a game that at times felt like a testimonial for Podolski, but the world champions have still not conceded a goal since the 2016 European championships, a seven-game streak that underlines their defensive organisation.

Under boss Gareth Southgate, England used a three-man defence for the first time since a loss to Croatia in 2006.

"You couldn't write a better script", Muller said. "If I was the director, I would find it too cheesy. No one would believe it".

Germany next turns attention to its World Cup qualifier against Azerbaijan in Baku on Sunday, when England hosts Lithuania at Wembley Stadium.

  • Julie Sanders