For a while this evening, it looked a lot like it was going to be a catastrophic night for German football. Germany trailed twice to Hungary in Munich, and given Germany's woeful performance at the 2018 World Cup and all of the debate about the rainbow flag ahead of this fixture, it would have been an utterly shameful night for Jogi Low and everyone in German football if they went out to the Magyars in the heart of Bavaria.
However, Leon Goretzka came to Germany's rescue with an 84th minute goal that secured a two-all draw. Gortezka scored the goal right in front of the Hungarian supporters, and the Bayern Munich player made himself an instant legend by making a heart gesture. This was a pointed gesture.
— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) June 23, 2021
He was praised widely on social media for the gesture.
I love Leon Goretzka so much. Just so, so much.
— Janel (@Janellias) June 23, 2021
Goretzka celebrating making the ❤️ gesture right in front of Hungary's not so open minded fans.
What a guy. What a fucking legend. pic.twitter.com/K5Wj88TRno
— Alex Truica (@AlexTruica) June 23, 2021
It was an emotional night in Munich as a fan ran onto the pitch during the Hungarian national anthem with a rainbow flag.
Speaking on RTÉ earlier, Richie Sadlier explained why UEFA had handled this issue so poorly.
They claim to be about certain values, and there's loads of statements - today's one is the latest one - where they claim to be about equality, and respect, and inclusion, and openness for all. You can't credibly claim to be for those things if you run scared at the first opportunity of being up against somebody who attacks those things, which is what they've done today. Whatever statements they put out now come out as hollow, cowardly statements.
Goretzka's brilliant work in front of goal means that Germany face England at Wembley next Tuesday. Regardless of the result in that match, he'll be remembered long after this tournament for that celebration. It's brilliant that Goretzka's heart celebration will be the final statement in maddening debate over whether Munich can light up its stadium with a rainbow flag.