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Oliver Neuville: Germany v Poland 2006


My Favourite goal from Lars Pollmann.

Expectations were not exactly sky-high when Germany hosted the 2006 FIFA World Cup. A wild 4-2-win over minnows Costa Rica in the opening game failed to raise those expectations. It was only the dominant performance against Poland in the 2nd game of the group stage where things seemed to fall in place. The problem was, Poland's goal seemed to be nailed shut. Suddenly, though, the most unlikely combination provided a happy end.

Bernd Schneider released David Odonkor on the right wing. The least-known player in Germany's squad had played a grand total of 27 minutes for the team before this substitute appearance. While the TV signal showed three minutes of extra time, the ball reached Oliver Neuville. Sliding to slot home from close range, the veteran striker made the crowd in Dortmund's stadium and all over the country erupt.

I no longer care much for international football as a fan of the game, but I get instant goosebumps just remembering that moment. To me, this seemingly non-descript goal was the starting point of perhaps the best summer I will ever have. An entire country came together for the following weeks. All thanks to David Odonkor and Oliver Neuville.

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