Jamie Casey believes Lukas Podolski deserves his place among the Euro stars, after rounding off his 100th international cap with a sublime finish to help Germany on their way to the knock-out stages of the tournament.
By Jamie Casey
Last Updated: 18/06/12 12:30am
Becoming the youngest European to reach a century of international caps, it was fitting that Germany forward Lukas Podolski would find the net against Denmark on Sunday night.
Aged just 27 years and 13 days, Podolski seems to have been around for an eternity and his 45th goal for the national side emphasises just how good a player Arsenal are about to inherit.
As Thomas Muller picked up possession on the right and pulled back across the face of goal, three-goal striker Mario Gomez fluffed his lines and inadvertently teed up Podolski, who had drifted in from the left.
Without a moment's hesitation, the former Bayern Munich man thumped an emphatic finish beyond Denmark goalkeeper Stephan Anderson, handing his side the initiative in what would ultimately prove to be a 2-1 win.
Picking up loose balls at every opportunity, it was a surprise that Podolski was substituted just after the hour-mark against Denmark, but, perhaps with one eye on a quarter-final meeting with Greece, boss Joachim Low may well have been resting his most willing runner.
Since the German reunification in 1990, only Jurgen Klinsmann has scored more goals for the nation in the European Championship than Podolski, with Sunday night's screamer his fourth for his country in his third Euros.
First capped in 2004, Podolski has since featured in all major international tournaments, constantly making an impact regardless of the fact that his club career has suffered from frequent dips in form.
An honourable man, he refused to celebrate his two goals in Germany's 2-0 win over Poland in Euro 2008; the playmaker paying respect to the country of his birth, and he'll no doubt have been hurting over their exit from the tournament on Saturday.
"I'm pleased Arsenal fans can watch me and see what I'm capable of at the highest level, soon I'll show that in London," the Polish-born attacker was quoted as saying recently, and although his talents were on display only for an hour on Sunday night, there is plenty more surely to come if Germany are to live up to their billing as frontrunners for the tournament.