Midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger captained Germany
for the last time in a 2-0 friendly victory over Finland on Wednesday, receiving an emotional send-off to end a 12-year international career that included the 2014 World Cup title.
Schweinsteiger burst into tears as he was honoured before kickoff and was cheered nearly every time he touched the ball. The 32-year-old midfielder decided to quit the national team after the European Championship, where Germany lost in the semifinals to host nation France in July.
Even before kick-off, with German FA (DFB) president Reinhard Grindel heaping praise on the departing captain during a pre-match presentation, Schweinsteiger struggled to hold back the tears.
Germany's Bastian Schweinsteiger plays the ball during a friendly match against Finland.
There was another standing ovation when Schweinsteiger came off for Julian Weigl in the second half.
Schweinsteiger sobbed openly when the 30,121-strong crowd gave him a standing ovation.
Leaving the match in the 67th minute, Schweinsteiger received another standing ovation. Minutes earlier, a fan managed to run onto the pitch unchallenged and took a selfie with the smiling Schweinsteiger before running off.
A fan, wearing a Germany shirt with ‘Schweinsteiger’ across the shoulders, ran onto the pitch, took a selfie with the World Cup winner and casually jogged off.
Schweinsteiger hugs German coach Joachim Loew.
Germany's Bastian Schweinsteiger honoured by teammates after the match.
“I was very touched, I was enjoying every second,” he said. “It was a great honour to play for Germany and you fans.”
Germany's captain Bastian Schweinsteiger leaves the pitch during their friendly match against Finland.
Germany's Thomas Mueller (left) and Manuel Neuer (right) pick up Bastian Schweinsteiger on their shoulders after the match.
Schweinsteiger didn’t want to give up the captain’s armband and Germany was without a captain for a few minutes, until Thomas Mueller came off the bench with a spare one.
Schweinsteiger made his debut in 2004, in a 2-0 loss to Hungary, and finished with 121 caps.