Carlsberg Man of the Match Mario Gomez thanked his colleagues for their backing after he struck both of Germany's goals in the 2-1 victory over the Netherlands.
Gomez has been a target of criticism from some sections of the German press, but after heading the winner against Portugal on Saturday, he took his UEFA EURO 2012 tally to three with his two first-half strikes in Lviv.
"It was very important for me, and I'm happy that the important people in our team and the coach have supported me during difficult times," said Gomez. "It wasn't easy, especially after scoring against Portugal and then a few days later they criticise you – that's not nice. But I just carried on, and the coach told me I gave a good performance against Portugal and that I should continue like that.
"It was a difficult game and there was a lot of pressure on me but now it looks good for us to make the quarter-finals," added Gomez, after receiving his award from former Danish international Allan Simonsen.
"After everything that has happened I'm very proud to be here," he continued. "It's a shame that I scored both my goals at the wrong end. After I scored, I wanted to celebrate with the fans but I looked up and saw that everything was orange so I thought I'd better turn around and celebrate with my team-mates."
While Gomez thanked team-mate Bastian Schweinsteiger for the two assists for his goals – "he always plays the ball exactly how I want it" – Germany coach Joachim Löw was eager to heap praise on the striker himself.
Löw said: "Mario was really good and has always come back from disappointment – that's his great strength. You don't have to boost him too much as he always finds his own way. Today he had two chances and two goals – he's got real class. The way he scores these goals is fantastic; he always does the right thing when he's in front of the goalkeeper."
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