The feeling of scoring a goal for the national team is one Mario Gomez has been waiting for since 13th June 2012. His goal to put Germany 2-0 up against England in Berlin on Saturday was therefore naturally a special moment for him despite his understandable dissatisfaction after the final whistle. The player voted Man of the Match looked ahead to tomorrow's game in Munich against Italy, where he sees room for improvement.
Question: First of all, congratulations…
Mario Gomez: …we lost the game so there should certainly be no congratulations.
Question: Are you not happy to be congratulated on your goal? Or would you rather talk about the defeat?
Gomez: We can talk about both, but I don't want to pretend the loss didn't happen as it's the main issue.
Question: Where should we start?
Gomez: The goal isn't so important for me personally, as I'd taken a big step forwards regardless of goals. I'm really enjoying football again and that had been missing for a while. I'm finally as fit as I need to be. I'm feeling that myself and I think it's clear to see. I'm experienced enough to know that goals are important but aren't everything. Above all, I'm pleased with the performance.
Question: You must surely be disappointed with the loss, though?
Gomez: We would have liked to win. We played well up until they scored their first.
Question: What happened afterwards?
Gomez: We lost our way and left too much space, which England used well. They scored two goals from set plays. We knew they'd be dangerous from those situations and they showed that.
What lessons need be learned from the defeat? You've got another strong opponent coming up in the form of Italy.
Gomez: We can take positives and negatives from the England game. We're all sad to have not won the match. We weren't good in the last 30 minutes and we need to look at that. We have to remain focused over the full 90 minutes, even if we're 2-0 up. We can't let it happen again as teams like England can take full advantage. In a major tournament, that results in you going home. That much is clear to us.
Question: Was the let-up a result of how the team was set up, or because the game was 'just' a friendly?
Gomez: I think that we set ourselves up in the right way but in spite of that, it's perhaps natural to take your foot off the gas when you're 2-0 up in a friendly. It's just how it is. We gave England a lot of room and they're blessed with a lot of individual quality. We were stupid to have lost this game.
Question: You lost the game, but in any case, how big was your goal from a psychological point of view?
Gomez: For me, it's all about fitness. I'm finally where I've wanted to be for the last two years. I've constantly been getting injured, working to come back and then suffering another setback. That's why I said I needed a new challenge. I have an intense year in Istanbul behind me with lots of training. I knew this would be my last chance to feature in and play a big role at a major tournament. That's been my main aim for the past few months. I'm delighted to be where I am. I said before the 2014 World Cup that Germany would be world champions, and I think that we have a good chance in France this summer. I want to be part of it.
Question: You scored two goals in the England game, but your first one was wrongfully disallowed for offside.
Gomez: It was an Italian referee. It seems things aren't going so well for them. (laughs)
Question: Not a good omen for Tuesday's game. What are you expecting?
Gomez: It'll obviously be a tough game as Italy have a good team and traditionally play very well against Germany. I think it's important to play well and get a good result to begin our preparations for the summer in a positive way.