For one side. It was the dawn of a new age, while for the other, the end of an era. And as Lukas Podolski showed the world, experience is something that always shines through. It was Gareth Southgate’s first match in charge as permanent #England manager last night as his side took on Germany in an international friendly. Not only did England show flashes of brilliance, they dominated the game.

After a few early chances, did not meet the target, a breakaway by Adam Lallana had the visiting crowd on its feet. He sprinted from the halfway line, holding off his defender just enough to get a clean shot at goal. The strike beat German goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegan but could not find the back of the net, as the shot ricocheted back into play off the post.

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It was that kind of night for England however. Jamie Vardy and Dele Alli both had chances that just seemed to fall out of reach. England’s lack of finishing ability came back to bite them as it was Podolski, playing in his final match for Germany, who rose to the occasion.

In the 69th minute, the world cup winner gathered the ball at the edge of the box and with no player looking to close him down decided the time was right for a fairy-tale finish. A thunderbolt travelling into the top corner of the net left even Joe Hart trying to catch a glimpse of the magic moment as it passed him by. It was a game of missed chances and what-ifs by England, but also one of promise for a side that has lacked just that in years past.

What a career for Podolski

The German international ends his career with 130 caps (third most in German colours) 49 goals (good for fourth place), a best young player award at the 2006 World Cup, but most importantly a world cup winner in 2014.

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Among the accolades of a storied career includes a 9 second goal against Ecuador in 2013, good for the fastest strike in German national team history.

He has been a mainstay throughout his life, garnering national caps for Germany at the U17, U18, U19 and U21 levels before becoming the #German Legend we know today. It could have been a much different story though for the man born in Poland.

In 2003, then-Polish national team coach Pawet Janas could have tried to recruit Podolski, who was still eligible for the side. Janas ignored the request stating in one of the press interviews that "as for today we have much better strikers in Poland and I don't see a reason to call up a player just because he played one or two good matches in the Bundesliga. He's not even a regular starter at his club." I doubt Podolski has any bad-blood about that decision now.