Does anyone remember what happened when France and Portugal locked horns in the final of Euro 2016? On paper, the two squads had players who could bang in a goal from 20 yards out without shocking the world. But an unlikely hero, Eder fulfilled an injured Cristiano Ronaldo’s international trophy dreams.
Once again Portugal was one of the teams but this time it was a drained German side looking for an opportunity to fabricate a veteran for themselves. Someone Fernando Santos hadn’t discussed in Portugal’s team meetings, and Robin Gosens turned out to be Germany’s man of the hour.
THE START OF THE FAIRYTALE
A young Robin Gosen born in Emmerich, Germany had other career ideas before opting for football. The German wanted to wear the badge of his country with pride and represent the German Police forces. Unfortunately for the 26-year-old fullback his dreams of donning the prestigious police outfit were flustered because of the difference in his feet. With a sparkle in his eyes, Gosens kicked off his Plan-B at FC Bocholt’s youth squad. Juggling between different German outfits, Gosens was busy proving a point all around the country. A street-smart fullback the German decided to open his shop in the Netherlands where he signed for Vitesse Arnhem.
Soon enough the big-bucks and headlines started pouring in from different parts of Europe. Interest from the Italian side, Atalanta saw the German travel to his second destination. Facing the likes of Dybala, Lukaku, and Ronaldo day in and day out, the Scudetto is a defender’s nightmare. But Gosens was busy changing Atalanta’s fortunes, turning them from ‘challengers’ to ‘conquerors’. The valiant German, a rock in the Italian teams’ backline, was a goal-scoring machine. Liverpool once vanquished Europe because of two electrifying full-backs in their ranks.
Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson burst onto the scene as their attacking brilliance made them the talk of the town. Robin Gosens scenario is nothing different, 27 thunderous goals and 21 mouth-watering assists in his 150 appearances for the Italians, saw them witness a fairytale run in the Champions League, finish third three times in a row in the Serie-A, and announce their arrival in Europe.
A SILENT KILLER IN THE GERMAN ARSENAL
An unnecessary own-goal at Allianz Arena against world champion France proved costly as Didier Deschamps’ army marched on to victory. Placed in the ‘Group of Death’, Joachim Low and Germany had just one thing in mind: ‘All or Nothing. After the world champions, the European champions were travelling to Germany as a hungry Portuguese side brushed aside the Hungarian challenge on their road to regaining the European title.
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With the Germans looking for inspiration from the likes of Muller or Gnabry, an unlikely hero stepped up to establish his name in the headlines at Allianz Arena. A nerve-wracking 90 minutes were on the cards as Low’s army commenced their fightback dominantly. Controlling the middle of the field, the Portuguese magicians weren’t given space to weave their spells.
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And to everyone’s surprise, Robin Gosens produced a moment of magic. A flying attempt at goal fooled the leaping Rui Patricio, as the 2014 World Champions earned an unlikely advantage. Not sure about the commentators but the footballing world must have screamed ‘Oh! What A Strike’. Joshua Kimmich’s beautiful delivery was met ecstatically by Gosens’ left foot but to Allianz Arena’s disappointment, TSerge Gnabry was standing in an offside position as the mystical attempt was ruled out.
A scintillating counter-attacking display by Portugal and Cristiano Ronaldo’s thunderous strike broke the shackles as the European Champions increased Low’s anxiety. But what the fans witnessed next was out of the world.
GOSENS RULING PORTUGAL
Atalanta’s dictator started ruling the Portuguese defence. Nelson Semedo’s career was being burnt to ashes in Germany as he had no replies to a flamboyant Gosen. Two Bayern Munich veteran’s Thomas Muller and Joshua Kimmich flawlessly linked up to cross the ball to a steaming Gosens who smashed in a cross.
The scrambling Manchester City defender Rubin Dias could only turn the ball into his net as a lingering Kai Havertz waited with an empty net in front of him. Nevertheless, the Germans were back in the game. 5 minutes later, centre-back Guerreiro joins Dias’ party as Portugal concede another reckless goal, with Gosens running riot on left-wing disturbing Portugal’s backline.
6 minutes into the second half, Gosens pounced in with his second assist of the game demolishing Portuguese dreams. The German full-back summed up his perfect day with an inch-perfect header to beat Rui Patricio to bag his 2nd goal for Die Mannschaft. An exquisite day for Robin Gosens broke the hearts of the European Champions as Germany lived to survive another day in the ‘Group of Death.’
WHAT NEXT FOR THE ATALANTA DEFENDER?
A card by Joachim Low executed to perfection. This is what Robin Gosens presence in the starting line-up was. Robin Gosens paid back the trust shown by Low in him with 2 assists and a jaw-dropping goal. Could easily have been two goals if VAR wouldn’t have ruled out his first-half masterclass. An icon in the making, Robin Gosens has gone from a hidden talent to the title of European King in a split second. And maybe this time Cristiano Ronaldo won’t deny him from swapping shirts after Gosens proved the legend that he’s also a talent bursting onto the scene.