Miroslav Klose mulling over international retirement
Published 14/07/2014 | 13:50
Miroslav Klose, finally a World Cup winner at the fourth time of asking, will decide over the coming days whether he wants to continue playing for Germany.
Twelve years after tasting defeat in the final in Yokohama, Klose took home his first World Cup winner's medal on Sunday night after Germany beat Argentina 1-0 after extra-time.
Klose earned a standing ovation in the 88th minute when he made way for Germany's match-winner Mario Gotze.
Having become the leading World Cup scorer of all time in Brazil, now seems a poignant time for the 36-year-old to call it a day, but he may yet carry on.
"I do not know yet if I will go on with the national team," said the striker, who scored his 16th World Cup goal in the 7-1 win over Brazil.
"I'll take a couple of nights to sleep on it and then make the right decision."
Klose and his team-mates will probably not get much sleep over the next few nights.
The celebrations began straight after the final whistle and an hour later some of the players formed a merry conga as they filed past the media and out of the stadium with beer in hand. On Tuesday, a huge party will be thrown in Berlin when the squad lands on home soil.
After coming so close to World Cup glory in the past, Klose deserves his moment of glory the most.
The Lazio striker made his World Cup bow in Japan and Korea, where he reached the final before losing 2-0 to Brazil.
Four years later he won the Golden Boot but Germany only made the semi-finals on home soil, losing Italy thanks to two very late extra-time goals.
And four years ago Klose took home a second version of the medal no-one wants - for third place.
Now Klose can add a medal he really savours to his collection.
"This is outstanding, it crowns everything," he said.
"We finished second once, were third twice, but this is world-class.
"I can hardly comprehend it. It was always a dream to be up there (getting the trophy) and not just having to stand around and have to applaud others.
"The team's performances were important, we wanted to keep our calm because we knew we had the better quality to win it."
Just like coach Joachim Low, Germany's all-time record scorer always knew Gotze had the ability to win the tight match in the Maracana.
"Before Mario came on for me, I said to him 'You can make it happen'," Klose revealed.
Bastian Schweinsteiger also has two medals for third place but now he knows how it feels to lift the World Cup too.
The 29-year-old epitomised Germany's tireless and industrious attitude in midfield.
The Bayern Munich man also ended the match with a nasty cut underneath his right eye following an aerial clash with Sergio Aguero.
He believes the fact that two substitutes combined to set up Germany's goal showed how strong their squad is.
"I've never been in a team that has so much power off the bench," he said. "That is the reason why we won the World Cup.
"We're going to enjoy the moment now. It's incredible.
"I would like to thank all of Germany for the support.
"We have felt that support here."
Germany's next target is to dominate world football for years to come just as Spain did by winning three major trophies in succession.
The potential is there for Germany to do that. They had one of the youngest squads in Brazil, and what is more, they were also without potential stars like Marco Reus, Ilkay Gundogan and twins Lars and Sven Bender through injury.
"We all had an incredible cohesion since the preparation camp, and we even had a few setbacks when we lost players like (Lars) Bender and Marco Reus," goalkeeper Manuel Neuer said.
"But they are also world champions. The whole of Germany is world champion.
"It's unbelievable. It is a great experience."