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Last Updated: Friday, 7 July 2006, 12:19 GMT 13:19 UK
Podolski beats Ronaldo to award
Cristiano Ronaldo (left) and Lukas Podolski
Podolski (right) benefited from Ronaldo's World Cup theatrics
Germany striker Lukas Podolski has won the Fifa young player of the World Cup award, beating off competition from Portugal winger Cristiano Ronaldo.

The 20-year-old Podolski has scored three goals in six matches so far.

Podolski said: "I would have liked to have taken home the World Cup - but this is a great honour and is a great motivation to become more successful."

Ronaldo was favourite for the prize but his antics in the quarter-final against England cost him the chance to win.

Holger Osieck, head of the Fifa technical study group that picked the winner, said: "We want to have decent behaviour and I admit we were critical of this.

Podolski showed a great understanding with Miroslav Klose and the two players formed a very effective partnership

Fifa technical study group head Holger Osieck

"We had a number of criteria but we have to admit players of that age do have their weaknesses and are not fully developed.

"Players should be role models and fair play is a consideration.

"But we have to admit young players are not always mature tactically and they also have difficulties in handling stressful situations."

Germany legend Lothar Matthaus, who is patron of the award, added: "You will never have 100% fair play and maybe looking at Cristiano he was obviously doing something here.

"He may have accumulated a couple of minus points due to his gesture with Rooney but you sometimes forget what the laws are in the heat of the fight."

Portuguese winger Ronaldo, pilloried for his part in the sending off of Wayne Rooney, was leading the Fifa website vote by a huge margin.

606 VIEW

But an email urging fans to vote for Ecuador's Luis Valencia instead led to an incredible 24-hour turnaround.

Ronaldo was deemed unsporting for appearing to try and get Wayne Rooney sent off for his challenge on Ricardo Carvalho.

Podolski also beat off competition from Cesc Fabregas, Lionel Messi and Tranquilo Barnetta to win the coveted prize.

No England players were shortlisted for the award.

Podolski scored in the final group game against Ecuador and bagged a brace in the 2-0 second round victory over Sweden.

Osieck added: "He not only scored three goals, he was a key element in Germany's attack.

"He showed a great understanding with Miroslav Klose and the two players formed a very effective partnership."

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