Two years on from perhaps his biggest disappointment in football, Mario Gomez staked a claim to lead Germany's misfiring attack at the European Championship. Gomez, who wasn't picked for Germany's triumphant World Cup campaign in Brazil through poor form, scored his side's sole goal in a 1-0 victory over Northern Ireland on Tuesday.
"I always said to myself, that wasn't it. That doesn't work. My time with the national team can't be ended like that," Gomez said. "I followed the guys on TV in 2014 and was a huge fan. But I always had the urge to return, to be there again. It's simply something special, a special team packed with world class players." Germany coach Joachim Loew opted for a more direct approach against Northern Ireland that involved giving Mario Goetze a freer role and Gomez his first start at the competition. Loew had preferred Goetze up front in the opening games.
Loew was fulsome in his praise of the striker. Gomez' 26 goals helped Beşiktaş win the Turkish league last season and earn a place in the Euro 2016 squad. "My ambition is greater than ever before. I want to win the tournament," Gomez said.