Yet again, a man named Müller has plunged the England footballing family into despair. Gerd ‘Der Bomber’ Müller did it in the past, and young Thomas Müller has done it again now. Bayern’s 20-year-old prodigy contributed two goals and an assist to Germany’s clear-cut 4-1 victory at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein to see his side through to the World Cup quarter-finals.
“It's obviously a fantastic feeling when you’ve scored the goals to relieve the pressure on the team,” commented Müller, named Man of the Match afterwards and facing the world media still in his pitch-soiled kit.
Top of the scorer chart
“Don’t praise me, praise the team,” the forward continued, admiring the “sensational” precision on the break which led to his brace. Germany could still go further at the finals, the player insisted. “But that was the case before we arrived here,” he said. Müller is now second to Argentina’s Gonzalo Higuain in the tournament scoring chart.
Skipper Philipp Lahm had earlier praised his club-mate’s “level-headedness and class,” after Müller opened his senior scoring account in the 4-0 victory over Australia. The youngster recovered superbly from an average display against Ghana to strike on 67 and 70 minutes and send the German fans into raptures.
Der Bomber’s footsteps
“You always need a bit of luck,” Müller remarked, “and it was on a knife-edge for a long spell”. The player had been informed of Frank Lampard’s perfectly good but disallowed goal for England. “Once we’d had that slice of luck, we knew we’d win,” he remarked.
Gerd Müller fired an extra-time winner against England in the 1970 quarter-finals. Forty years later, the English were yet again “mullered”. Gerd Müller’s 68 goals in 62 internationals make him far and away Germany’s leading scorer.
Determined and ruthless
Before facing Australia, Thomas Müller explained the significance of wearing the number 13, once sported by Der Bomber himself. “Scoring the third and fourth goals in a game like that takes a weight off your shoulders,” Thomas Müller said on Sunday.
Müller appears a lot more mature and experienced than his tender 20 years of age would suggest. He also seems immune to nerves. “It's incredible how ruthless he is for a 20-year-old,” Germany coach Joachim Löw enthused. The superstar in the making can hardly believe it either: “Sometimes it’s all happening a little too quickly, even for me.”