Germany share points on emotional night
Striker Lukas Podolski saved his country for the second consecutive match with an injury-time goal to snatch a draw after goals from Arsenal defender Emmanuel Eboue and Seydou Doumbia had put the Africans 2-1 up.
But the game at Schalke 04's Veltins Arena was marked by flags and banners paying tribute to Hannover goalkeeper and German international Robert Enke who committed suicide last week after suffering from depression. "It was not easy to tie up the football boots again after the events of the last week," admitted Low after Enke was buried last Sunday after a memorial service in Hannover attended by 35,000 mourners.
"But the team coped very well and they wanted to win the game, so I am positive about the performance. We were very disciplined and it was good for moral to get the late goal and draw the game."
And Podolski admitted it was good to get on the pitch to help the grieving process with Enke's Number One shirt being hung on the German bench. "I was happy to be on the pitch at last because before the game our thoughts were with Robert," said Podolski after Saturday's Germany-Chile friendly was cancelled out of respect for Enke's family. "We had a few good opportunities and it was a good pass which allowed me to hit the second goal."
Côte d'Ivoire - ranked 19th in the world - were without captain and striker Didier Drogba, but still came within five minutes of upsetting the European giants. "I am a little disappointed and angry with myself that we only got a 2-2 draw with Germany," said coach Vahid Halilhodzic after the first ever meeting between the two countries.
"I should have made some changes before their second goal. Germany were better in the first half, but we had the game under control in the second half."
With Germany captain Michael Ballack suffering from a knee injury, Bayern Munich defender Philipp Lahm took over the skipper's arm-band. "It was difficult to play today," said Lahm. "The last ten days have been turbulent, but we played well and took our chances. But we need to work hard on our finishing."
The result means Germany finishes 2009 with just one defeat from their 11 games with seven wins and three draws. Their next FIFA World Cup™ warm-up game is against Argentina in March.