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Podolski double sinks Poles
June 09, 2008 02:27 IST
Polish-born forward Lukas Podolski struck twice to give Germany [Images] a 2-0 win over Poland on Sunday, ending their 12-year wait for a victory at the European Championship finals.
Podolski tapped the ball into an empty net midway through the first half after Miroslav Klose, another Polish-born striker, burst through to set him up in the Group B game.
Germany continued to threaten and made it 2-0 when Podolski volleyed home from 12 metres in the 72nd minute after the defence failed to clear.
Victory extended Germany's unbeaten record against Poland to 16 games and secured their first win in the tournament since the final of Euro 96.
Poland are making their first appearance in the finals and they were nearly punished for a rookie mistake in the fourth minute.
Michael Ballack [Images] set Klose racing through on goal with a perfect through ball. The striker chose to cross to Mario Gomez, who somehow failed to convert in front of an open goal.
With 20 minutes gone Germany caught Poland again. Gomez set Klose bursting through and this time his decision to square the ball proved a good one as Podolski, playing as a left-midfielder, calmly converted.
Germany keeper Jens Lehmann had nervously fumbled a cross from the right in the first minute but Jacek Krzynowek blasted the ball over.
Lehmann continued to look jittery before finally getting down to make his first clean save from Wojciech Lobodzinski.
Early in the second half Krzynowek raced clear on the right only to waste the chance with a poor cross before Ballack came close to adding a second with a rasping shot that was pushed away by keeper Artur Boruc.
Ebi Smolarek had the ball in Germany's net in the 62nd minute but it was ruled out by a borderline offside decision.
Complete Coverage: Euro 2008