It is not often that goalkeepers are celebrated as heroes and rarer still that they save two penalties in the final of a major international tournament to inspire their team to glory.
Yet that is precisely what Nadine Angerer managed at UEFA Women's EURO 2013 in Sweden, where she kept out spot kicks from Norway's Trine Rønning and Solveig Gulbrandsen to ensure Germany won their sixth consecutive title and eighth overall.
Her remarkable performance in the 1-0 victory, combined with five clean sheets in six matches, persuaded the UEFA technical team to name Angerer as player of the tournament. The award was presented at the 41st annual German Football Association (DFB) awards ceremony in Nuremberg on Thursday, with DFB President Wolfgang Niersbach handing over the trophy as her coach at the finals, Silvia Neid, looked on proudly.
Angerer remained as modest as ever when asked about her heroics in Solna, taking a joke from Niersbach that she "should have caught" Rønning's penalty, which she stopped with her feet, in good spirits. "My mistake," she smiled. "But I'm a footballer, you see."
After collecting her fifth UEFA Women's EURO winners' medal, Angerer began a new challenge in Australia with Brisbane Roar, and 'die Katze' (The Cat) is already enjoying her new life. "It's really great," she told the audience, which included Germany legends Franz Beckenbauer, Günter Netzer and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. "I've been there for four weeks and I've settled in really well. I had a lot of big decisions to make over the summer and that was one of my best."
FC Bayern München and VfL Wolfsburg were each honoured on stage for their respective men's and women's treble successes last season, while Angerer joined Neid in accepting another award on behalf of the women's national team. "They wanted to make history, and they did," said Neid, before adding: "So did I."
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