Munich: "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.
"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."