Arsenal fans got another glimpse at new signing Lukas Podolski on Sunday night, and were no doubt delighted to see him score a goal on his 100th appearance for Germany. The sense of excitement around his completed summer transfer to the Emirates is building rather belatedly, due in no small part to the fact that Arsenal fans were more worried about Champions League qualification at the time the transfer was announced. The hype and excitement is justified however; and Arsenal fans are beginning to see just how shrewd the deal to bring Podolski to the Emirates Stadium is.
Podolski’s personal achievements on the international stage are remarkable; having broken into the senior Germany team at 19 years of age, he played in a few friendly matches and made the Euro 2004 squad. He played in one substitute appearance at Euro 2004 in a group defeat against the Czech Republic. It was a sign of great things to come from the talented striker. What made this even more remarkable was that he was playing his club football with second division side 1. FC Kӧln, which meant that Podolski became the first second division player since 1975 to be called up for the national team.
His rise to stardom continued with impressive form in the Bundesliga earning him a call-up to Germany’s World Cup 2006 squad. Podolski shone at the tournament, forming a lethal partnership with fellow striker Miroslav Klose and ending up as the tournament’s joint second top-scorer. Podolski was also named the best young player of the tournament, beating Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to the prestigious accolade.
Podolski was on fire again in the Euro 2008 qualifiers, scoring seven goals, four of which came in a drubbing of San Marino which made Podolski the third player ever to score four goals in a competitive game for Germany. Euro 2008 saw Podolski lead the line for Germany as they made it to the final, narrowly losing out to Spain at the last hurdle. Podolski was instrumental in Germany’s progress through the competition; he registered 3 goals and provided some vital assists, as well as being named in the team of the tournament.
The German team set off for the World Cup in South Africa with Podolski already an established member of the starting line-up, holding off fierce competition for places from Germany’s expansive cohort of young attacking talent. Germany reached the semi-final with some unforgettable displays, such as the 4-0 win over Argentina or that 4-1 demolition of England, with Podolski providing two goals and several assists along the way.
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