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One-goal wonders find themselves out of World Cup

Posted June 13th, 2018, 10:09 AM IST

One-goal wonders find themselves out of World Cup

Chennai: Time and tide wait for no one, even if you have scored the winner in the Fifa World Cup final. Or, in the final of the European championship, which is second only to the World Cup in prestige. The 21st edition of the World Cup, starting in Russia on Thursday, has added weight to the sporting adage – You are as good as your last match.

Mario Gotze, who scored Germany’s goal in a 1-0 extra-time win over Argentina in the 2014 World Cup final, has not been selected for 2018. Eder, the unlikely scorer of Portugal’s winning goal in extra-time against France in the final of Euro 2016, has not made the cut to Russia either. Sentiments matter in soaps and not in football. The name of the game is winning. Gotze and Eder are proof.




Germany coach Joachim Low sent Gotze on against Argentina in 2014 as the last throw of the dice in the dying minutes of a tense, goalless match. He muttered in the ears of the diminutive player: “Show the world that you are better than Messi and can decide the World Cup.”Like an obedient student, Gotze did what he was told. He outshone Messi and scored an exquisite volley that secured Germany their fourth World Cup.

Gotze was only 22 when he stamped his class in the historic Maracana. Germans, not prone to hero worship, deified him. With the looks to match his dazzling skills, the world was at Gotze’s feet. When it seemed nothing could go wrong for the little fella, everything would in the subsequent years.

He struggled for form at Bayern Munich where how you play in the first half matters. Even a return to his beloved Borussia Dortmund, the club where Gotze blossomed, couldn’t rescue his international career as Low had the unenviable task of telling him that he wasn’t even good enough to make the 23-member Germany team for Russia. That is football.

After Eder scored a long-range winner against hosts France in the final of Euro 2016 to deliver Portugal’s first major trophy, even the dyed-in-the-wool football fans sought Google’s help to know more about the rangy forward. For a fleeting moment, he upstaged Cristiano Ronaldo as the most famous Portuguese. But Eder was no Ronaldo as he faded away without doing anything of note in the shirt of Portugal again.

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