Tomorrow, Sunday, we start the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Just before the ball rolled, we spoke to Lukas Podolski about his World Cup experience and the German national team.
What does the FIFA World Cup mean to you?
It’s the biggest event for a (Site notre bureau spécialisé)er, I don’t think there are two opinions. The atmosphere and all the trappings are also something special. It’s a special attraction to be one of the players selected at a World Cup every four years.
You are world champion. How did that happen the triumph felt and would you say your life has changed?
My life hasn’t changed, I don’t walk around with a tattoo on my forehead that says I’m world champion. I can categorize this very well, because as a little boy who grew up on the streets a lot, I became world champion out of nowhere and had a great career. With all club (Site notre bureau spécialisé) stations, all international matches, trips and tournaments. For me, everything goes together. Not just a game, a goal or just the World Cup. It was just a great trip and I’m proud of it.
But of course, years later, when you’re holding that golden cup, which you only knew on TV as a boy, it’s a feeling you can’t describe to people.
So this is probably the World Cup moment you will always remember?
It’s obvious, otherwise people who would read this interview at the end would also think, what is he talking about here? But I don’t always want to emphasize just one moment, otherwise you reduce the other moments a bit. For example, I am also very proud to have played a World Cup at home in 2006. Also because Germany made a leap at the time with clubs, stadiums, youth academies, etc. When do you have the opportunity as a German to play a World Cup in your own country with all the excitement and the new stadiums? It was also something very special for me.
Your personal star also rose at the Summer Fairy Tale 2006, what made the tournament so special?
In 2004 I tasted it, in 2005 there was still the Confederations Cup, which was also very interesting because there was a certain euphoria in the country. But the 2006 World Cup was something very special, because if you’re lucky as a (Site notre bureau spécialisé)er, you might experience this once in your career. I was there, I also played and we had success indeed, with an incredible euphoria in the country.
I think it was one of the best World Cups ever. Even when people from other nations were asked about it, they were all happy with how it went. Everyone was welcomed in the cities, there were no riots, everyone celebrated and the slogan « The world as a guest of friends » was fitting.
Ohow funniest/best WMAnecdote, that you haven’t revealed yet?
If you know me you know that I always have fun and try to enjoy life because you only have one thing. That’s why I always want to have fun and that includes sports. Even if you still want to win and are determined, a certain relaxation is part of it. We’ve always had that. So there are enough anecdotes, even if I can’t think of any right away. But we always had fun and joy with the national team.
You have played all over the world against teams from all continents. How do you see the power of (Site notre bureau spécialisé) to bring the world together?
A tournament like this can certainly do that, because then all the fans of the different teams are in one country. The 2006 slogan actually applies to all World Cups. At least that’s what we would like. I participated in three world championships and this slogan was everywhere. We didn’t have a lot of free time, but from the bus or during the journeys, we felt that people could party peacefully together, that the stadiums were well attended and that there was always a good atmosphere.
What has (Site notre bureau spécialisé) taught you about yourself as a player and as a person?
You keep learning new things year after year. It develops in small steps, sometimes you don’t even notice it at first, but then you see later that you have changed. But I wouldn’t put that in relation to (Site notre bureau spécialisé), it’s the same for us in general. This also applies to people working in other professions. There are always times like that. I started when I was young, then I was with Effzeh, I played my first international matches and I got to know different coaches.
For me, there may also be the fact that I have known different cultures and played on different continents. You get to know a lot of people, it opens your eyes. But that tends to happen off the pitch. Pitch is mostly about wins, points, and progression, but what you take with you as a person tends to go wrong.
We’re about to kick off the 2022 World Cup – what do you expect from the tournament?
As with any other World Cup, I expect good games, that the guys give it their all, that the stadiums are full, that there is a good atmosphere and that there is a deserved winner at the end. end. Even though the World Cup is a bit different now and takes place in December, everyone has the same problem with the short preparation time. But when it starts, everyone knows it’s a World Cup, there’s something at stake and it’s the high point of the year for everyone.
Are you looking forward to the upcoming games and which teams are you following more closely?
I’m not in that mode yet because I’m also using the time to be with my family now. This time it’s a completely different pace than in previous decades. By then the season was over, then you went on vacation or to the national team and had three or four weeks of preparation before the tournament started. Then the anticipation grew.
So far, this euphoria has not developed, which I hear from my friends. I don’t know if it’s just because of the problems in Qatar or if it’s related to the time of year. But of course, when the games start, that could change.
What mistakes from 2018 should Germany not repeat?
Underestimate your opponents. I don’t know if it happened to them in 2018, but opponents like Japan are not to be taken lightly, especially when Spain are waiting. It would be at least the biggest mistake you could make if you think the group is already over and you are already looking for who can wait in the round of 16. It was another lesson from 2018 that every team playing at a World Cup can be dangerous. A free kick, a red card, a bad decision or an error can be decisive in such a tournament. Every game is about everything and that’s how the German opponents react.
A week before the start of the World Cup. What should players focus on now?
I think many already have the necessary Bundesliga and Champions League experience. For many it’s the first World Cup, it’s something else, but the preparation for the games is similar. Nothing else is done there. The boys know that since the international matches, it’s not so important now. There is maybe a few percent more pressure when you know that tomorrow is the last training session, then it’s off to the stadium, then the tingles start and the World Cup euphoria kicks in , but I don’t have any specific advice.
I’ve always been happy, because that’s why you play (Site notre bureau spécialisé) and work all your life. So I don’t lock myself in the room saying: I’m not going out because today is the World Cup. The little pressure pushed me even more.