DUBAI: Mario Gomez inspired Germany to a thumping 7-2 victory over United Arab Emirates here on Tuesday in an international friendly with a four goal haul for his first international goals in 14 months.
The four goals from the new record 30 million euros Bayern Munich signing — who had a disastrous Euro 2008 finals after going into it hailed as the man to watch for Germany — allowed the Germans to end their much criticised mini Asian tour with a resounding victory. They had been held 1-1 by China in Shanghai last Friday. Initially it looked as if the Germans — who went on the tour without regulars such as Michael Ballack and Torsten Frings — would also struggle in this match against a side ranked a lowly 120th in the FIFA world rankings. Manuel Neuer had shown two moments of great solo class on his debut but with no reward for it and the Germans had to wait till the 29th minute to open the score with defender Heiko Westermann hitting the back of the net.
From then on, though, the UAE collapsed and the Germans were 4-0 up by half-time as Gomez grabbed two of his goals and winger Piotr Trochowski also scored. Gomez — who hadn’t scored for the national side in 15 appearances since March 28 last year — rounded off the victory with two more goals in the second-half with the other German goal an own goal.
The Euro 2008 finalists next international rendezvous is a 2010 World Cup qualifier against Azerbaijan in Baku on August 12 - the Germans presently lead their group by four points ahead of Euro 2008 semi-finalists Russia, though the Russians have a game in hand.
In St Etienne, France, home team coach Raymond Domenech suffered another blow to his authority as Nigeria beat France 1-0 in an international friendly. Joseph Akpala scored the only goal of the game, the 22-year-old Club Brugge striker scoring in the 32nd minute after Ikechukwu Uche’s shot had come off the bar and hit French goalkeeper Steve Mandanda’s heel.
Domenech conceded that his side had lacked freshness, though he admitted the Nigerians had also had a long hard season, and that in the first-half especially his team had struggled to assert themselves. France play a second friendly against Euro 2008 semi-finalists Turkey on Friday.