Lukas Podolski has dedicated Germany's 4-0 win over Portugal to compatriot Michael Schumacher after revealing news of his recovery inspired them to victory.
Schumacher, 45, suffered a serious head injury after a skiing accident in the French Alps just before the New Year. But six months after the incident, his spokesperson Sabine Kehm confirmed the former Ferrari, Bennetton and Mercedes driver has been transferred to Lausanne University Hospital in Switzerland after coming out of a coma.
And Podolski, who came on as a second-half substitute in Germany's comfortable win over 10-man Portugal on Monday, said that news of Schumacher's first steps to recovery inspired the team to triumph in Salvador.
“Of course it helped us," Podolski said, after the win put Germany top of Group G. "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.
“In the end [the victory] was for him. He's a good friend, a good guy and he's also crazy about football. Maybe he watched the game or he knew about the result."
The Arsenal striker is a personal friend of Schumacher and has previously shown support for the seven-time World Champion by wearing a special pair of boots with the message 'Keep Fighting, Michael' in the FA Cup Final against Hull City.
Podolski also pledged to dedicate the World Cup title to Schumacher should Jochaim Low's team reach the final at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro on July 13.
He added: “Yeah, if we win the title of course it would also be for a good friend.”