GERMANY coach Joachim Low hailed his two-goal striker Mario Gomez for recovering his “fighter” instinct as his team moved to the brink of the Euro 2012 quarter-finals with a 2-1 win over the Netherlands.
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 temperatures were extreme and the game was competitive and intense. There were times when both teams lacked momentum.
“But we were determined to take the step towards 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 finished a beautiful move by lashing an unstoppable second from the right side of the 18 yard box.
Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk introduced both Klaus-Jan Huntelaar and Rafael van der Vaart at the break but the Germans continued to press.
Arjen Robben, pictured, and Wesley Sneijder both had chances to reduce the deficit early in the second half for the Dutch before Van Persie finally got on the mark with a brilliant finish from outside the 18 yard box in the 73rd minute.
As the Dutch chased an equaliser tempers began to fray and Robben reacted petulantly to being substituted with seven minutes remaining, stomping off on the opposite side of the pitch and pulling off his shirt.
Van Marwijk launched a thinly-described criticism of Robben afterwards when he pointed out the threat from the Dutch wide men was “too little”. He replaced Robben with striker Dirt Kuyt in the 83rd minute but also criticised the lack of bravery in pushing for an equaliser.
“We defended moderately and the co-operation between our central midfielders and defence was poor,” he said.
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. But Van Marwijk refused to concede his side were heading out. “We cannot imagine that it is over when we are at this level.”