Widely and justifiably maligned after the Champions League Final, Germany’s Mario Gomez went a long way towards achieving redemption last night.
It’s sod’s law, isn’t it? Given the apparent dearth of talent in talent and excitement in Group A, many football fans were convinced that Euro 2012 wouldn’t really catch fire until yesterday, when the four teams in the undisputed Group of Death went head to head.
Instead, we had two games very much in the ‘meh’ category and only two goals to speak of, compared with the seven goals, two red cards and plethora of exciting incidents that came our way on Friday evening. Tournament football, eh? You’ve gotta love it.
If there was one saving grace from yesterday, however, it was the redemption of Germany striker and doppelganger for Back to the Future’s George McFly, Mario Gomez.
Widely and justifiably maligned in the wake of a pretty terrible Champions League final performance, Gomez was in danger of being tagged as a bottler, a man who, like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, doesn’t seem to perform when the world is watching, despite doing the business week in, week out for his club.
Instead, on a pitch containing the stellar talents of Schweinsteiger, Ozil, Nani, Coentrao and Cristiano Ronaldo – a man so vain he changed his hairstyle at half-time, for God’s sake – it was Gomez that stole the show with a header of real quality with less than 20 minutes on the clock.
After Sami Khedira’s cross was deflected onto the Bayern Munich’s striker magnificently wavy head, he diverted it expertly into the far corner of the net, showing a finishing ability that helped him to over 40 goals for his club this season.
With tournament football expert Mario Klose waiting in the wings – he was ready to come on for Gomez before the goal went in, Gomez is under serious pressure to hold on to his place in the team.
He did enough last night to keep his place, and made plenty of people who had backed him as leading scorer happy in the process, making him a worthy winner of our McCoy’s Man of the Day award.