Striker Mario Gomez retires from Germany’s national team

BERLIN (AP) — Striker Mario Gomez is retiring from international football after Germany’s first-round exit from the World Cup.

Gomez, who scored 31 goals in 78 appearances for Germany, said on Facebook Sunday that “now it is time to make way and give the many young and highly talented lads the opportunity to fulfill their dream.”

Gomez said he would only come back if Germany’s coach sees a need “for improbable reasons” at the 2020 European Championship.

The 33-year-old Stuttgart player is the second to retire from Germany’s national team after its embarrassing showing in Russia.

Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil, amid lingering controversy over a pre-tournament photo with Turkey’s president, quit last month in an angry announcement criticizing Germany’s football federation, fans and media for what he termed racism toward people with Turkish roots.