The Telegraph
Monday , June 23 , 2014
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At 36, Klose is still a world-class poacher

It was an open and ‘Klose-d’ case in Fortaleza. Miroslav Klose, coming on as a substitute, scored with his first touch and that was enough to equal the original Ronaldo’s record of 15 goals. The Germans were trailing 1-2 and they needed someone of Klose’s calibre on the field to bring them back into the game.

At 36, Klose is not the same player he used to be — say in 2010 — but still he hasn’t lost the habit of being at the right place at the right time. He came on in the 69th minute and got the goal within a minute. A classic Klose poach! And then came that trademark somersault.

For the connoisseurs, Klose may not be a great striker. A Ronaldo or a Gary Linekar or a Paolo Rossi had better skills in front of the goal. But Klose’s movement in front of the goal is second to none. He is a smart player and that helps the creative midfielders Joaquim Loew has at his disposal. Since Gerd Mueller, Germany never had a goal poacher of the highest calibre.

Klose’s arrival provided a solution. As Klose grew older, some new faces cropped upů Mario Gomez was one of them. Gomez came and then faded into obscurity. But the Klose chapter is not closed yet.

In this World Cup, Loew is using Thomas Mueller as the false striker and that means Klose’s match-time is not guaranteed. Still on Saturday, when the chips were down, Loew had to fall back on this man. And in his fourth World Cup, Klose still means business. This itself shows the strength and character of Klose.

It was not about just Klose at the Fortaleza. Ghana’s Asamoah Gyan and Andre Ayew were brilliant and I was amazed to see the direct style of football Ghanaians played. And then I have to talk about Kwadwo Asamoah’s tackle.

Seven minutes from time, Mueller had a clear chance to put Germany ahead. But Asamoah effected a great saving tackle — maybe the best tackle of the tournament — and denied Mueller a near certain third.

Midweek, something more dramatic happened. And it was Luis Suarez. He came, he saw and then he conquered. This man has the impact like Diego Maradona. Against Costa Rica he was not there, and versus Uruguay looked ordinary, but against England on Thursday, Suarez inflicted a double whammy. Edinson Cavani also complemented him superbly and I reckon these two will prove quite a handful for the Italians in the last group match.

Suarez is a different player to Klose. He is more aggressive and always striving for that extra mile. Whether he plays for club Liverpool or country Uruguay, this man’s approach never changes. That’s what I like about Suarez.

Other than Spain, if there is one story, which is keeping us enthralled, it’s the comeback of Luis Suarez.

In between Suarez and Klose, one player made some noise again. Lionel Messi once again showed why he is the best player of the world. With the match into injury-time, and Iran minutes away from scripting a commendable draw, Messi’s shot curled and curled and curled before hitting the back of the net. Two matches, two goals and two Man of the Match awards. Messi is weaving magic in the spiritual home of football. But then his teammates will have to stand up and be counted too.