Considered by many as Germany's 'greatest treasure', Klose's exploits will present the national team with some much-needed motivation going into Euro 2020.
With legendary footballer Diego Maradona spearheading the team in the role of a manager, Argentina fans were supremely confident about the nation’s prospects going into a tense knockout encounter against Germany. Maradona showcased a smug attitude going into the match, even failing to pay due respect to Thomas Mueller who came on for an interaction with the press. Lionel Messi was highlighted as the magician who would emulate the popular footballer’s heroics on the pitch, having been guided by the legend himself. It all cut a different story altogether on the field, as the Germans ensured a slick exchange of passes, dominating the game through thick and thin. Joachim Loew’s players combined youthful zest with supreme ability and tactical discipline, to thrash Argentina 4-0 in one of the most convincing wins ever.
While Thomas Mueller played the supporting role in a commendable manner, the star of the night was none other than striker Miroslav Klose. Klose who scored two goals in the 68th and 89th minute is the classic example of a predator with his instinct and positional sense within the box second to none. The striker’s gameplay was supremely intelligent at the same time, giving the defenders no opportunity to predict his moves. Klose managed to outwit his opponents with a mix of headed goals, slow movement and as few touches as possible inside the box, pushing the ball into the net by any knee, shin or toe possible.
Those attributes served him well throughout the course of his international career, finishing his journey in the game as the all-time leading scorer (16) in World Cup history. Forever happy with being the less fancied player on the pitch, Klose smashed 71 goals in 137 games for Germany which is extraordinary, to say the least. The Die Mannschaft never lost a game when their all-time leading scorer delivered the goals on the pitch, which is an indication of his importance to the setup. While the focus was dominated by high profile players like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, in stepped Klose to deliver yet another match-winner. Considered by many as Germany’s ‘greatest treasure’, his exploits will present the national team with some much-needed motivation going into Euro 2020.
The German contingent for the 2020 edition has been largely sidelined when it comes to discussing teams capable of winning the tournament. While the likes of Portugal, Spain, France have dominated the limelight, Germany have been forced to settle for being referred to as ‘dark horses’. Many have termed their 6-0 defeat against Spain as a classic indication of their defensive lapses. Others have referred to the 2-1 loss against North Macedonia as fair ground to write them off. One of the critics is none other than legendary Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who stated that he was not very confident for Germany.
“I’m not very confident for Germany. I grew up at the border of Germany and I feel they have not the stability. They have lost the belief. The Germans, to be successful you need in the team a combination of hunger, belief, aggression, and that you’re capable to fight the doubt. I believe in Germany belief has gone,” he said in an interaction with beIN Sports.
“They need to start well to have a chance, after that, for me, they have another hurdle, is that it be the last tournament Joachim Low who has done fantastic for Germany. To be completely honest, I have not seen a team doing well with the players knowing that the manager is not there anymore after the tournament. Because he’s as well kind of psychological solidarity. And you lose a bit of power. The players know they don’t need you anymore, and that means with a group of such a large group now, I think it’s very difficult to maintain unity, solidarity, because you have less power, and they added a hurdle to already a confidence level that is not very high. You know, they got hammered a few times and they need a good start.”
However, being written off might well emerge as a blessing in disguise for the Germany squad just like it was in case of Klose, with the likes of Timo Werner, Sergi Gnabry, Kai Havertz well capable of stepping up under pressure. They might be placed in a Group of Death, having been forced to jostle with the likes of France, Portugal and Hungary. However, one could also refer to it as a Group of Opportunity, considering the teams are shielded from a reunion until the semi-finals at the earliest, having played each other in the first stage. This is an indication of the quiet confidence and optimism that Klose maintained in his capabilities throughout the course of his career. The ‘Dark Horses’ might well cast pre-tournament predictions to the wind, having taken a leaf out of the book of their ‘greatest treasure’.