FootballGavranovich, a hero forever
The man of the extraordinary 3-3 against France bowed out internationally. Would appreciate more consideration. Right or wrong…
A few hours after Roger Federer, on Thursday evening, Mario Gavranovic also announced his retirement. In the national team retirement, he will no longer wear the jersey of the Swiss team, so he will not be at the World Cup in two months, but will continue to play for Turkey’s Kayserispor. “Super Mario” hanging up the Swiss knitting probably has nothing to do with the impact on Federer’s retirement. But Gavranović will also forever remain a hero of Swiss sport.
It should not be forgotten. For any football fan, he will be the man who enabled Switzerland to knock out France on June 28, 2021 in Bucharest in the last 16 of the Euros. He receives a magical pass from Granit Xhaka, hooks Kimpembe, who ends up on his butt and adjusts the small net of Lloris. Extra time, penalty shootout, Swiss qualification. Everyone in Switzerland knows where he was and what he did that night. Vladimir Petkovic’s national team just broke the glass ceiling. I especially thank Gavranović.
Never considered a holder
It is certainly unfair to reduce this attacker to this single providential achievement. “Gavra” has 16 goals in 41 selections. A better ratio than, say, Seferovič (25 goals in 86 selections). But Gavranovic was never considered a starter with choice, neither under Hitzfeld, nor under Petkovic, nor under Yakin.
A curiosity that says something? There were attempts. On October 13, 2020, he started in the Nations League, in Cologne against Germany in a 3-3 draw: two goals from Gavranović. The problem is, this is probably the only time he’s had it all work when he’s been balanced on a kickoff. With his profile, “Super Mario” had everything to change in a matter of minutes, maybe more.
It all has to do with his joker’s purpose
It was after coming on in the 73rd minute against France and after seeing the first goal disallowed for offside that Gavranovic overturned all of Switzerland with his incredible sequence in the final seconds. No matter how much we want to get away from it, we always come back to that moment, those seconds of grace.
“I think that’s the most important goal of my career, the goal against France, I can’t forget it,” he told us a few months ago. We can’t forget that either. But why turn your back on the Swiss selection two months before the World Cup? Why not give yourself a chance to experience such ecstasy?
Because everything has an end. For Federer, it was the knee that said stop. For Gavranovic, it’s a head. Since 2011, the date of his first selection with Switzerland, he has always been an exemplary, exemplary and supportive member of the team. He swallowed snakes, wisely stayed on the bench and never waved. A pearl for the coach: a powerful, always available player who never demanded anything.
Unsatisfied need for recognition
Or, if not, a little more recognition. Tenure from time to time, more regularly, a little consideration. At 32, Mario Gavranovic might have wanted a little more of everything, right now. And above all, not to be the joker of luxury that he has always been in peace in two months. Everything is a paradox: apart from the joys of Cologne, as the owner of the Swiss team, when he had the chance, he really did not convince. And it is precisely because he is a joker – and what a joker! – that he raised the whole country.
Still. This goal. Forever. So for this exceptional equalizer, but also for everything else, we have to thank Mario Gavranovic and respect his choice. And to hope his ghost doesn’t float to Doha, one night in the Round of 16 at the end of the game, if Switzerland are lucky enough to get there.