Euro 2012: Mario Gomez dedicates goal to Joachim Löw as Ronaldo misfires

Mario Gomez dedicated his winning goal to Germany coach Joachim Löw for showing faith in the striker who is prolific in club football but has been inconsistent on the international stage.

Gomez thumped in a superb 72nd-minute header to give Germany a 1-0 victory over Portugal after they had been frustrated for long periods of a cagey Euro 2012 Group B match in the Ukrainian city of Lviv.

“I had a good feeling from the start here and I wanted to give something back for the trust [the coach put on me],” Gomez said.

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“It was clear when Miro [Klose] was on the bench and would come in for me at the end for a few mintues. It’s hard to head in a ball when you’re taking a step backwards but I think the ball was deflected a bit so it worked out.”

Earlier in the evening Denmark snatched a surprise 1-0 win over Netherlands in the other game in the group considered the toughest of the tournament. “We were a little tense in the first match, after hearing Denmark beat Holland,” said Germany coach Löw. “No team wants to get behind in the first match. You get a bit of a spark if you win the first match and that’s what we wanted.” Gomez’s goal lit up a largely uneventful affair, dominated by packed defences and stalemate in midfield.

Germany did well to stifle Portugal’s rocket-heeled wingers Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani, who both had frustrating evenings as a disappointing Portugal threatened sporadically. German fans caused almost as much excitement off the pitch, throwing what appeared to be rolled up pieces of paper at the Portuguese players on several occasions in the first half.

Authorities warned supporters three times that such behaviour could force the match to be abandoned.

Portugal have now scored just once in their last four matches. Perhaps just as worrying for coach Paolo Bento was another subdued performance from Ronaldo, who shines for his club Real Madrid but rarely produces a truly memorable performance in big games for Portugal.