herald

Wednesday 13 December 2017

'Fighter' Gomez lands big blow on Dutch

GERMANY coach Joachim Low hailed his two-goal striker Mario Gomez for recovering his "fighter" instinct as his side moved to the brink of the Euro 2012 quarter-finals with a 2-1 win over Holland.

Gomez added to his winner in the opening match against Portugal with a first-half brace which moved the Germans to six points in Group B, while the still pointless Dutch now need a miracle to progress.

Low was criticised in some quarters for preferring Gomez in the tournament, but he said: "Mario Gomez has always been a fighter type. He has pulled back his form and these two goals will do him good, for sure."

Low's men need a point against Denmark to guarantee top spot in the group and the Germany coach added: "The group winner would be important because we can stay in Gdansk and that would probably be to our advantage in the quarter-finals."

The Dutch had started well with Robin van Persie firing straight at goalkeeper Manuel Neuer but Germany took the lead in the 24th minute when Gomez turned and fired low into the corner of the net.

Holger Badstuber missed a glorious chance to make it 2-0 in the 37th minute when he headed straight at Maarten Stekelenburg, but one minute later Bastian Schweinsteiger again fed Gomez who lashed an unstoppable second.

Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder both had chances to reduce the deficit early in the second half for the Dutch before Van Persie finally got off the mark with a brilliant finish from outside the box in the 73rd minute.

As the Dutch chased an equaliser tempers began to fray and Robben reacted petulantly to being substituted.

Van Marwijk launched a thinly-veiled criticism of Robben afterwards when he pointed out the threat from the Dutch wide men was "too little".

The result means the Dutch must beat Portugal by at least two goals in their final Group B game and hope Germany beat Denmark if they are to stand any chance of progressing to the knockout stages.

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