Germany forward Lukas Podolski dedicated his nation’s emphatic 4-0 victory over Portugal to his friend Michael Schumacher, who awoke from a six-month coma on Monday.
Podolski, who joined the action as an 82nd minute substitute, said the Germany squad had been lifted by the news about the retired seven-time Formula One world champion.
Schumacher suffered a serious head injury in a skiing accident last December.
“It is important to all of us to hear that news that he’s come out of hospital,” Podolski said. “He’s doing well and he’s getting better and it’s really good news.
“When you hear the news about a good friend it always helps and you get a little bit of a boost and I was very happy when I heard about the news.
“He’s a good guy and he’s also crazy about football. Maybe he watched the game or he knew about the result. Yeah if we win the title of course it would also be for a good friend as well as ourselves.”
Thomas Meuller scored a hat-trick and Mats Hummels headed another as Germany began their quest for a fourth World Cup in menacing fashion at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador.