Germany veteran Miroslav Klose edged a step closer to the all-time scoring record of 1970s icon Gerd Mueller,closing the gap to just four as he notched up his 64th goal for his country.
An added edge for the 34-year-old Lazio forward is that his inspired 68th-minute header in Germany’s 4-2 destruction of Greece in their Euro 2012 quarter-final came in Poland,the country where he was born.
Offered his first start at the tournament by coach Joachim Loew,Klose,recalled for Mario Gomez,had an early a goal chalked off for offside as the Germans,who further rested Lukas Podolski and Thomas Mueller,dominated the exchanges.
Klose,who was scoring his 17th goal in major finals,was lively throughout and he went close to getting a second in the 74th minute but his header was blocked only to rebound to Marco Reus,who volleyed it into the net for their fourth goal.
“I was glad that I got that goal,” said evergreen Klose,who had had to be content with appearances from the bench in Germany’s three Group B wins.
“I was really happy to be given the chance to start.
“Our bench is very,very strong which makes us stand out.
“Anyone can come in and play,which is great for us.
“We knew that we could impose our game on the Greeks and get a few chances to score. That was just how things worked out.”
Like Klose Podolski was also born in Poland,which has a long tradition of migration to neighbouring Germany,and both emigrated as young boys. The two players are sometimes seen conversing in Polish on the pitch.
Klose hails from the southern Polish town of Opole,home to a large ethnic-German community.
His parents were athletes who moved West and continued their careers there.
He made his Germany debut in March 2001 against Albania,and has enjoyed a solid career with Die Mannschaft.
He was a member of the squad that reached the 2002 World Cup final in Japan and South Korea,third at the 2006 edition in Germany and was third again at the 2010 tournament in South Africa. Klose joined Italy’s Lazio in 2011,having spent the previous four years at Bayern Munich.