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Gosens' star ascending with Germany

The no-nonsense Atalanta wing-back is charming Germany on the pitch, and in front of the camera.

Robin Gosens: did he get to keep the ball?
Robin Gosens: did he get to keep the ball? UEFA via Getty Images

"So, do you want me to take this thing with me now?" It was a rare moment of indecisiveness from Robin Gosens, albeit one he could easily afford. The Germany left wing-back had been named Heineken Star of the Match after a brilliant performance in the 4-2 victory over Portugal, but it took him a few seconds to realise that the trophy he was holding for the obligatory picture and interview was indeed his for keeps.

He would later describe winning the award as "gigantic", his goal as "next-level magical" and add that he was experiencing "emotional turmoil" (in a positive sense). If further proof were needed that he has a way with words, it came during his marathon interview session after the game in Munich, conducted in multiple languages.

Star of the Match: Gosens highlights

"As a character, we all appreciate his presence a lot," explained coach Joachim Löw of the versatile Gosens, who can also operate in midfield. "He is very straightforward and very lively in the way he communicates. As a person, he is kind of like his football style: always taking a clear position, and no-nonsense.”

Gosens' dynamic, aggressive displays in two pre-tournament friendlies earned him a spot in the starting XI, but the 26-year-old gave his coach at Atalanta a huge share of the credit for that achievement. "It seems like these qualities have always been slumbering inside me and [Gian Piero] Gasperini managed to reveal them," he said. "I have to thank him for teasing them out."

He certainly delivered against Portugal, and was a key reason why Germany lived up to their own high standards in a big match for the first time in five years. Or, as a relieved Löw put it: "The tournament has now begun for us."

Watch Gosens score against Latvia

Group F is headed for an extremely exciting conclusion with all four teams still under pressure to produce. Currently second in the section, Germany will be certain of a round of 16 place if they beat Hungary on Wednesday, but that will demand another high-energy showing.

"The next match will be more difficult if Hungary defend with eight or nine players and try to hit on the counter," Löw warned, after watching the Magyars earn a 1-1 draw against France. "They have shown how dangerous they can be." The coach is well aware that after encountering two of the best sides in the world, Germany will have to adjust to taking on a rank outsider.

They will do so against a backdrop of burgeoning euphoria at home. The win against Portugal brought a level of enthusiasm to the national team not seen since the final two games of Germany's victorious 2014 FIFA World Cup campaign. At that time, Gosens was playing in the Dutch second tier with Dordrecht. Now he is firmly in the spotlight, and daring to dream that his Star of the Match award will not be the only trophy he gets to take home this summer.

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