Forward Mario Gomez continued his stellar European championship, scoring twice against the reeling Netherlands to propel Germany to a 2-1 victory Wednesday in Kharkiv, Ukraine.
In a match filled with dominant offensive players, Gomez stood above them all. The 26-year-old FC Bayern Munich striker showed both power and uncanny touch en route to a brilliant two-goal effort.
Gomez, who netted the lone goal against Portugal, is now tied with Russia’s Alan Dzagoev as the tournament’s leading scorer with three goals.
He got Germany going quickly, scoring his second goal of the tournament in breathtaking style by calmly controlling a pass from Bastian Schweinsteiger with his left foot before spinning around and blasting a shot past goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg in the 24th minute.
The Germans kept attacking, continually pinning the Netherlands in with pinpoint passing. Their skillful ball possession led to Gomez’s second goal of the match. Schweinsteiger earned another assist, leading Gomez to the right side of the Dutch net.
Gomez made no mistake with his second opportunity over Stekelenburg.
The Dutch wouldn’t go away. In fact, they made things interesting by scoring in the 73rd minute. Forward Robin van Persie did a great job of getting away from German midfielder Sami Khedira, then racing in and firing a shot between the legs of defender Holger Badstuber before finding a spot behind goalie Manuel Neuer.
However, Germany held on to the victory, continually thwarting the Netherlands’ charge.
It’s been a shocking fade for the Dutch, who were one of the heavy favourites to win the European championship. After its stunning loss to Denmark in the opener, Holland was under heaving pressure to beat the powerful Germans, yet could never find consistent cohesion.
Heading into the tournament, Holland boasted one of the best offences in the world, but its Achilles heel remained a porous defence.
In the last two games, the latter has been more evident for the Oranje.
What this result means
- Germany has taken a stranglehold in Group B with six points, three ahead of Portugal and Denmark. Holland’s chances to advance to the quarter-finals are on life support.
The winning goal
- After some great passing by the Germans, Gomez finished things off with a perfect shot by the outstretched reach of Stekelenburg.
Man of the match
- Can we pick anyone else? Gomez has now scored three goals in the tournament, to go with the six he scored in Euro qualifying. The striker has been the dominant offensive force for Germany.
The German perspective
- "The time just wouldn't pass, it remained standing [at the end of match]. They were pressing. It was close until the end but with Manuel Neuer in goal we can be a bit more relaxed. The expectations were great from our team even before the tournament and we've won six points against two classy teams, but it's a long way to the final." — Forward Mario Gomez
The Dutch perspective
- "Early on we had decent chances but the German goals came out of nowhere. We defended badly. Our offence and defence did not connect. Germany really has an excellent team. It has power, creativity and scoring." — Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk