JUNE 14 2010 13:27h

Football: Poles enjoy reflected glory of Podolski and Klose




Poles basked in reflected glory on Monday after Polish-born Lukas Podolski and Miroslav Klose both scored in Germany's 4-0 drubbing of Australia in their opening World Cup match.

"A massive game for the duo from Poland," thundered the sports daily Przeglad Sportowy, plastering its front page with a photograph of Podolski hugging Klose.

"Polish goals in South Africa," headlined the newspaper Polska, adding that "Germany's strong thanks to Poles from Silesia".

Podolski and Klose, who hail from southern Poland, emigrated to neighbouring Germany as youngsters.

With Poland failing to qualify for the World Cup, the German strike duo are the next best thing to home players for Polish fans.

Podolski and Klose often speak to each other in Polish, and in past matches Polish viewers have enjoyed spotting Klose mouthing Polish expletives after he missed shots.

The relationship with Polish fans is a love-hate one, however. The duo turned Poles into nervous wrecks during the 2006 World Cup and Euro 2008, when twists of fate drew Germany and Poland together.

Adding an extra edge is the fact that Podolski, 25, is the Poland player-that-got-away.

At 18 he contacted the Polish football association, the PZPN. He got the brush-off, he has said -- just like Polish-born Germany midfielder Piotr Trochowski.

Klose, now 32, was never tempted by Poland.

To avoid losing such foreign-based talent in the future, the PZPN has set up a unit that scouts the world's Polish diaspora.

Germany's remaining Group D matches are against Serbia on June 18 and Ghana on June 23