Gomez wants win over Spain at Euro 2012

Watching Spain play is a lot of fun for Germany striker Mario

Gomez, and it will be even more enjoyable if he can beat the land

of his father at the European Championship.

Germany was beaten by Spain at the last two major tournaments –

in the final of Euro 2008 and in the semifinals of the 2010 World


Both of those games were personal disappointments for the Bayern

Munich striker, a Barcelona fan who is the son of a Spanish father

but was born in Germany.

But after scoring three goals in his first two games at Euro

2012, Gomez has already brought Germany within reach of the

quarterfinals and a possible rematch with Spain in the final.

”I have been watching Spain a lot – they are fun to watch, not

only because I am half-Spanish,” Gomez said Friday. ”They are

surely one of the favorites, but we’ve been getting closer over the

years and our great aim is to beat Spain.”

Gomez may have a soft spot for Spain, but don’t expect that to

be a problem if the teams meet.

”As a player, I am 100 percent German. I play for Germany so

I’m not really concerned with how Spain does,” he said.

Given his form, Gomez could be forgiven for already thinking

ahead to the knockout stages.

Gomez was widely considered Germany’s second-choice striker,

behind Miroslav Klose, coming into the tournament. Yet, thigh and

back problems have left Klose struggling for fitness and coach

Joachim Loew selected Gomez for the team’s first match, against


Although he scored the winner, Gomez could not escape criticism

from home. Mehmet Scholl, a former Germany player who is now a

coach at Bayern and a television commentator, told an audience of

millions he was afraid the striker would develop ”bed sores”

because he found himself on the ground so often.

Gomez said the criticism hurt.

”You score the winner against a tough opponent and you still

get heaped on. But the coach told me to forget it all and that he

was happy with the way I played,” Gomez said. ”However, you still

feel that you are under enormous pressure and it only eased after

the match against the Netherlands.”

Gomez scored two great goals in the 2-1 win over Germany’s

historic rival, enough to silence the critics back home.

”It’s important for us to know that we have a striker who can

score even from half a chance,” said midfielder Bastian

Schweinsteiger, who set up both goals. ”Right now, we have the

feeling that all we have to do is kick the ball up front and Mario

is there. And in the penalty box, he is top class.”

In the last two Bundesliga seasons, he scored 54 goals in 65

games. He scored 43 goals for Bayern in all competitions this

season, including 12 in the Champions League where he led Bayern to

the final.

He set a German record by averaging 0.52 goals a match in three

seasons for Stuttgart, where he won Bundesliga title.

But for the national team, Gomez has never lived up to

expectations. Until now.

Four years ago, he was remembered for missing from about a meter

(yard) out in a match against Austria that the Germans needed to

win to advance from the group stage. They did, but Gomez didn’t

play a major role after that.

At the World Cup two years later, it was Klose who scored the

important goals. Now, it’s Gomez’s time in the spotlight.