Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Euro 2012 Germany-Portugal: At death's door, it's Gomez

At death’s door, it’s Gomez.
The unlikeliest of heroes, Mario Gomez justifies Joachim Low’s faith.
by rick olivares photo by Getty Images

Portugal coach Paulo Bento must think that the last 10 minutes of the match was the totality of the game with Germany. Said Bento: "We thought we were in total control but had very bad luck when Mario Gomez scored from that deflected cross."

I guess he blinked when Gomez nearly scored in similar fashion in the opening minutes or when the Germans had three marvelous attempts at the reset.

Gomez’ start was a surprise considering he had not really done that well for the senior squad. And he didn’t do much apart from his early attempt and that is why he was seconds away from being substituted out of the match for regular starter Miroslav Klose when he latched onto a cross by Sami Khedira to beat Rui Patricio for the game’s only goal. And minutes later, he almost doubled the lead when he missed tagging another cross on a full extension. That’s what one goal can do for a player sorely in need of confidence.

Gomez wasn’t the only one who didn’t do much. So did the tournament’s touted best player in Cristiano Ronaldo who finally shook off Jerome Boateng’s cuffs in the last 20 minutes of the game.

I’d hesitate to venture that the strikers of both sides didn’t do too well because I thought that the defenses were good in denying chances while the midfielders wreaked havoc on those passes up front.

But the two players who did well for their teams are currently teammates on Real Madrid – Portugal’s Fabio Coentrao and Germany’s Mesut Ozil. Coentrao was all over the field playing defense, winning balls and surging across German territory. Ozil’s influence in the midfield drove Joachim Low’s side forward. That he was named Man of the Match is no surprise despite only completing 32 of his 80 passes. When he was lifted for Toni Kroos in the 87th minute that’s when Portugal made their move. Mats Hummels who stars for Borussia Dortmund could have also been named Man of the Match for his outstanding defense.

Not Germany’s best game as Portugal proved to be tough. But that’s what you expect from matches in the European Championships’ Group of Death.

The outcome will do well not only for Germany but also Gomez.   

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