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Gosens gains glorious revenge on Ronaldo as Germany stun Portugal in Euro 2020 cracker

20:58 GMT+3 19/06/2021
Robin Gosens Germany Portugal Euro 2020 GFX
The Atalanta wing-back was the star of the show as Joachim Low's men bounced back from their France defeat with a vital victory in Munich

Portugal 2-4 Germany: Match Statistics

Robin Gosens once asked for Cristiano Ronaldo's jersey after a game between Atalanta and Juventus.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner didn't even look at the German as he said no.

"I was completely blushed and ashamed," Gosens later wrote in his autobiography. "I went away and felt small."

His latest meeting with Ronaldo went a hell of a lot better.

Indeed, Gosens must have felt ten-foot tall as he lapped up the applause of the Allianz Arena after being replaced midway through the second half of Germany's thrilling 4-2 defeat of Portugal.

Just seconds beforehand, he had risen majestically at the back post to add a goal to the two assists he had already racked up in a remarkable comeback by the hosts.

Before the game, even Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp had questioned Germany's decision to stick with the same team – and, more importantly, the same 3-4-3 formation – which had struggled to fashion openings in their tournament-opener: a 1-0 loss to France.

"Every coach has the right to play as he sees fit," Klopp told Magenta TV. "I would play a back four with this team.

"I can imagine a midfield with Joshua Kimmich, Toni Kroos and Ilkay Gundogan doing extremely well."

Low stuck to his guns, though, and was rewarded with a spectacular display.

"It was important not to throw everything overboard after the France game," Kai Havertz told reporters afterwards, "but to stay true to ourselves. We trust the system and we trust the players."

And with Germany, and Kimmich in particular, taking a leaf out of the Atalanta playbook by switching the play to the left flank at every opportunity, Gosens ran riot.

Portugal actually took the lead, and just 15 minutes in too, with Ronaldo tapping home after Diogo Jota had latched on to a stunning pass from Bernardo Silva.

It meant that Ronaldo had equalled Miroslav Klose's record for most goals across the European Championship and World Cup combined (19). He just keeps making history, and he looks unlikely to stop any time soon.

However, this was a disturbingly disjointed display from the reigning champions. It was telling that Ronaldo's goal represented the Seleccao's first shot on goal, and Jota's initial control their first touch in the Germany box.

Even by that stage, Gosens was tormenting Nelson Semedo and had already seen an acrobatic back-post volley disallowed for a handball by Thomas Muller in the build-up.

He racked up his first assist 35 minutes in, volleying a Kimmich cross into the six-yard area that Ruben Dias deflected into his own net under pressure from Chelsea's Champions League hero Havertz.

Just moments later, Portugal conceded another own goal, this time from Raphael Guerreiro, after a clever cut-back from Kimmich.

By that stage, it was abundantly clear that the Seleccao had a major problem with Germany's wing-backs, and Gosens in particular. Yet Portugal proved utterly incapable of doing anything about it. 

Indeed, within six minutes of the restart, Muller played the ball into the path of the completely unmarked Gosens, who crossed for Havertz to slide home.

One would have presumed at that point that Portugal would, at the very least, try to get tighter to Gosens but he was totally unmarked as he headed home Germany's fourth.

Credit to Ronaldo, he helped drag his side back into the game with a full-stretch assist for Jota, who made it 4-2 from close range, but there was no doubt that the game belonged to Gosens, who has experienced a remarkable rise since joining Atalanta from Heracles Almelo in 2017 for just over €1 million (£900,000/$1.2m).

"It's just indescribable, especially when you look back at the path I've taken," the 26-year-old enthused afterwards. "My mobile phone exploded after the match! It's one of the best days in my life."

This was the night on which the highest-scoring defender in Europe's 'Big Five' leagues last season announced himself on the international stage.

He was head-and-shoulders above every other player on the pitch.

This time, it was the true colossus of the game that is Cristiano Ronaldo who was made to look relatively small by comparison.