The 2014 FIFA tournament is likely to be the close of Miroslav Klose’s World Cup career. This is the striker’s fourth tournament and at 36-years of age, likely his last. On Tuesday’s match against Brazil, Klose scored his 16th career World Cup goal. This placed the German a single goal past Brazilian legend Ronaldo for the World Cup career scoring record. The German star could extend that lead with a goal or more during Sunday’s final against Argentina.
During Tuesday’s demolishing of Brazil, Klose netted his 2nd goal of the tournament. In what was originally thought to be a show of respect to the Brazil fans and team, there was no ceremonial front flip that typically follows a goal by the German. However, in a post game interview, Klose stated that he was unable to do the front flip because of sustaining a slight injury. The injury occurred when the striker attempted a shot with his left foot and was bumped into. It bothered the 36-year old enough not to consider the front flip fans are accustomed to. In retrospect, after Germany went on to score five more goals, injury or not, the decision not to celebrate with a front flip was likely a smart choice.
Now, as Klose comes close to the potential end of his FIFA World Cup career, the only thing that remains is Argentina in the finals. Adding a goal or two to his record mark, while raising the World Cup into the air would be a nice end to the tournament and make it difficult for anyone to best his goal total. A total that could be passed by teammate Thomas Müller. Müller, who won the Golden Boot award in South Africa for the 2010 World Cup, is a favorite to repeat the feat in Brazil. Going into Sunday’s final, the 24-year old has 10 goals over two World Cups and will likely be the player to pass Klose as early as the 2018 tournament.
Argentina will likely focus on both Müller and Klose as two scoring threats on Sunday. However, the duo only accounted for two of the seven goals against Brazil. Tuesday’s offensive display should have shown the Argentina squad that anyone wearing the German colors on the pitch Sunday is a threat to score. On top of finding a way to stop the German blitzkrieg style attack, Argentina’s superstar Lionel Messi has his eyes on the Golden Boot as well. Messi trails Müller by one goal in the tournament, and both trail Colombia’s James Rodriguez, who ended his tournament with six goals. Rodriguez goal total before Brazil eliminated Columbia could still be enough to win the title if neither Messi or Müller can score. However, all eyes will likely be on the elder German in anticipation of adding to the career goal mark.
A win for Germany in the FIFA World Cup Finals would close an impressive career for Klose. The striker won the Golden Boot in the 2006 tournament, and adding the career scoring title in Brazil, plus bringing home the tournament trophy would be quite an accomplishment over four tournaments. The reality is, the Golden Boot and career scoring mark are all secondary to all the players. The important goal is winning and being a part of the championship star that will be added to the winning team’s jersey. With a win on Sunday, Germany would add their fourth star.
Commentary by Carl Auer