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Schweinsteiger signs off in style

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July 09, 2006 03:58 IST

Bastian Schweinsteiger was without doubt the hero of Germany's 3-1 victory over Portugal in the third place play-off match in Stuttgart on Saturday.

The 22-year-old Bayern Munich midfielder, who found space to maneouvre on the left wing, scored twice and also played a part in Germany's other goal, when his free-kick was deflected into the Portugal net for an own-goal by Armando Petit.

His goals were almost identical. In the 56th minute, he veered away from the left corner of the box to the front of the Portugal goal before firing a 25-yard shot that sailed high over the outstretched left hand of goalkeeper Ricardo Pereira.

Six mintues later Schweinsteiger, who didn't start in the 2-0 loss to Italy in the semi-finals, set up the own-goal as Petit, in an attempt to clear the ball, deflected his low free-kick past Ricardo and into goal.

But it was his goal in the 78th minute that had class written all over it. Known to be an attacker by instinct, Schweinsteiger broke down the left flank, tricked a couple of Portugal defenders with his turn of foot as he moved to the top of the box and dispatched a rasping shot that sailed over Ricardo's left hand to the far corner of the net.

Immediately he took off his shirt and celebrated amidst cheers from the sell-out home crowd that included seven-time Formula One champion Michael Schumacher and a hug from captain Michael Ballack, who watched from the sidelines, and coach Juergen Klinnsmann.

Could there be a better way for Germany's most-naturally talented midfielder to end his campaign in the football fiesta?

Player of the day

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