German forward Miroslav Klose has earned World Cup immortality.
His 71st-minute equalizer in a 2-2 tie against Ghana (WATCH THE GOAL HERE), just two minutes after coming on as a sub, gave him 15 career World Cup goals, tied for most all-time with Brazilian great Ronaldo.
Welcome to the club #Klose— Claro Ronaldo (@ClaroRonaldo) June 21, 2014
"It doesn't matter whether I play from the start or come off the bench," said the 36-year-old. "All games are important and 15 goals in 20 World Cup games isn't bad."
"I mean of course I'm awfully happy for Miro Klose," said German national team coach Joachim Low. "This is sensational for his career and I know that he has had a very difficult season and has been injured a few times. And for me as a coach it's sensational to have this kind of player on the bench knowing that they can make a decisive play any time."
Klose's last competitive goal came way back on March 30 for Italian club side Lazio. His most recent strike came in the last World Cup tune-up friendly against Armenia, allowing him to set the all-time record for goals in a German national team jersey.
On Saturday, the veteran celebrated the goal with his trademark front flip, which he barely landed.
"I don't know how long its been since I've done that one, but I pulled it off in the end," Klose said with a laugh during a post-game flash interview. "Whatever I can do to help the team I'll do it, whether its on the bench or not, every player will be important."
Klose's instant impact invited the question once again for Low in his postgame presser: Time to go back to a formation that features a target striker?
"Classic nine or artifical nine, striker yes or striker no. That's not so much the question. It's a matter of scoring the goals," Low said. "The players must be able to move up and down and the players have to be able to change their position. Static strikers are no longer in my head."
If Klose wants to own the World Cup scoring record all to himself, perhaps even against the USA on June 26, it sounds like it's going to have to come off the bench.