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Ozil provides X-factor threat to England

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Jonathan Stevenson | 13:16 UK time, Friday, 25 June 2010

World Cup 2010: Johannesburg

Clear your mind of every stereotype that has been attached to England's fiercest footballing foes because the main threat to the Three Lions' hopes of progressing to the quarter-finals on Sunday in Bloemfontein does not lie in the platitudes previously handed out to German tournament teams: ruthless, clinical, efficient.

No, the danger this time is slightly different. In fact, it can probably best be summed up in two words: Mesut Ozil.

The 21-year-old Werder Bremen playmaker with the dribbling skills of a young Paul Gascoigne and the bulging eyes of a goal-hungry Salvatore Schillachi is the Teutonic talk of the tournament.

A stunning performance in their opening game - a 4-0 drubbing of Australia - was followed up by a match-winning role in Germany's decisive final Group D fixture against Ghana, Ozil's majestic left-foot strike from 20 yards gliding into the corner of goalkeeper Richard Kingson's net to set up a last-16 contest with England.

Mesut Ozil

Now, despite his tender years and the fact that he has played only 13 games for his country, scoring twice, Ozil is not only the man England fear most but the man who carries the hopes and dreams of his chosen country on his shoulders.

Not so long ago, Ozil was being pressurised into playing his international football for Turkey, the land of his parents' birth. But Ozil, born in Gelsenkirchen and part of a new breed of ethnically diverse footballers for whom Germany is their adopted nation, has quickly become the poster boy for a new generation of Germans.

Eleven of Joachim Loew's squad of 23 could have played for another country; but it is the capture of Ozil, the man who brings flair and fantasy to Loew's team, that gives a quintessentially German team an X-factor that makes them perilously unpredictable.

Before I get any further, let me make it clear that despite Germany legend Horst Hrubesch's proclamation that Ozil is "our own Lionel Messi", the Bremen man plays nothing like his Barcelona counterpart.

Yes, Ozil has a sweet left foot and, yes, he can change a game in an instant, but he possesses neither the electric turn of pace of Messi nor the lethal finishing in the final third. To compare the German star with Messi, the best player on the planet, would simply do a disservice to the former at this stage in his career.

Having said that, while watching Ozil against Ghana at Soccer City on Wednesday, there was no doubt at all about his importance to the side. With Cacau replacing the banned Miroslav Klose as the spearhead of the Germany attack (Klose will return on Sunday), Thomas Mueller and Lukas Podolski occupying the wings and Bastian Schweinsteiger and Sami Khedira sitting in midfield, Ozil's task was to roam wherever he felt he should go.

The free role that Steven Gerrard so pleads for in an England shirt has been thrust into Ozil's lap at a precocious time in his career, but the former Schalke man is comfortable with the responsibility and certainly no feeling of inferiority as he goes hunting for the ball in dangerous areas of the pitch.

Drifting from wing to wing while he watches play like a hawk, Ozil is not an easy man to pick up, with Gareth Barry the most likely England player to cover the ground he most occupies. It is unlikely Barry will go man-to-man on Ozil, so Gerrard on the left and James Milner on the right will have to be aware that, at times, Ozil accompanies Mueller and Podolski as they launch raids from the flanks.

Ozil's intelligent reading of the game and willingness to look for space beyond Cacau sent him clear of the Ghana defence, only for Kingson to deny him twice.

At least I thought it was more a reflection of Kingson's reflexes than any obvious weakness in Ozil's game, until I asked German football journalist Christian Nürnberger to tell me about his country's brand new wunderkind.

"Ozil is a very good player, that is clear," said Nürnberger. "But he does have a big fault, and you saw it when he got into the Ghana penalty area the other night. In my opinion, Ozil is too phlegmatic. I wouldn't call him lazy, but he doesn't have the energy and the fight of, say, a Wayne Rooney.

"What happened against Ghana, we have seen in the Bundesliga many times before. When he gets into the penalty area, Ozil is not very good - he misses a lot of one-on-ones because he cannot sort his head out in time. It is far better to keep him outside the area because that's where he does his best work."

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That was certainly true against Ghana, with Ozil sending an unstoppable shot past Kingson to seal Germany's progress. As well as ensuring he was the talk of the mixed zone afterwards, the goal sent the rumour mill into overdrive with speculation linking Ozil with a £20m move to the Premier League.

Speaking to Germany captain Philipp Lahm after the Ghana game, he was under no illusions that, in the absence of the injured Michael Ballack, Ozil has suddenly become a player of irreplaceable importance to the side.

"It is not easy to fill Ballack's boots, he is a big player and it's not easy for us without him, but Mesut is doing it his way and taking responsibility," said Lahm. "I think he will become one of the best players in the world. He is young but has big talent, so we will see.

"He always wants the ball, he's very good technically and he can score goals too as he proved against Ghana. He's not only a good player for us but he's different to what we have elsewhere in the squad, so he's very important. Every tournament has a man who makes a reputation and hopefully Mesut will be a star."

Almost a year to the day after his thrilling individual contribution helped Germany Under-21s win the European title with a 4-0 dismantling of Stuart Pearce's England side, Ozil has the chance to hand out a similar footballing lesson to the seniors.

"Our dream is to win the title," said Ozil on Wednesday. "That is what we are here for."

Maybe he does have a little of the German footballer stereotype in him after all.


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  • Comment number 1.

    1 year ago he tore the England u21s apart, fast forward 1 year he's playing against England again in the World Cup. Brilliant talent.

  • Comment number 2.

    Re no 1.
    Given your username is so accurate that prediction must be true.... Could you also tell me the lottery numbers for tomorrow please

  • Comment number 3.

    Nice enough article, I guess, but Ozil is not someone who has 'adopted' Germany. He was born in Germany, he has a German passport and has always lived there, he has played all his football in Germany. I'd say Cacau has adopted Germany, but not Ozil. Unless your implicit point is that Ozil is somehow not German/German enough?!?

  • Comment number 4.

    Two left-handed spoons, I reckon. Ozil will tire.

  • Comment number 5.

    I have just read on BILD online that Özil's beloved grandma died last night. Sounds like a sick joke but isn't.

    This could arguably be quite some liability.

  • Comment number 6.

    Totally agree with this blog. Ozil is a tricky little wotsit and will likely cause us problems. He is doing for Germany what Lennon/Cole/SWP are supposed to be doing for us i.e. running, taking men on and cracking in a few shots if the chance arrives. I fear for our plodding defence. You gotta give Germany kudos for their investment in a younger more energetic set of players. I think with Ballack missing it is a blessing in disguise.
    Anyone know his value is? I can see big money being offered for his services after this tournament.
    Lessons here that England need to learn from.

  • Comment number 7.

    i'm not sure England have the intelligence to adjust to a side like Germany having taken 3 games to adjust to the standard of our group.
    For flair and design, England could match Germany, but the Germans still have such a formiddable grasp on the basics. They've always only needed one or two unpredictable players and Ozil is that.
    But he does look a little mind-divided and could dishearten against hunger, determination and passion. If england can't muster that in this game of games, then let Germany be the frozen mouse for the South American snake waiting in the quater finals.

  • Comment number 8.

    It is only now, as the final 16 take shape that it becomes ever more clear, what a dream of a draw England had in this WC and what an easy ride to the semi finals. All they had to do was qualify top of an equally easy group. Instead they now find themselves in a very tough situation, with two of the most difficult teams facing them in the next round and the quarters, if they can even get that far.
    Compare this with groups G & H where Brazil Portugal and Spain are all bundled together and it becomes crystal clear what a golden opportunity was let slip in this tournament.

  • Comment number 9.

    We shouldn't be concerned about this player.

    Small, inexperienced - for all his quality. All we need to do is deny space to all their midfield, which would weaken their attack. Defoe and Rooney is a must, as their centre backs are not the kind that will deal well with short snappy strikers.

    England really should win this.

  • Comment number 10.

    I have to say ive been very impressed with the boy and he looks like he could be top player in the coming years, However i think England need to watch Podolski more when they play as i think he could be the main man for Germany.

    The way both full back (especially johnson) have played so far Germany must feel getting down the flanks is their best option and this is why i think Podolski will be more important for them and more of a danger towards englands chances

  • Comment number 11.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 12.


    Small and inexperienced means nothing, you are right if england can stop the germans getting space in the middle then that would cut off the supply, however thats why this young lad is so good becaus he can create space out of nothing and play a killer pass think your taking this young lad a bit lightly

  • Comment number 13.

    The German side had a little safari trip today. True - no joke.

    One of the things they liked most was playing with some little lions ...
    No joke either.

  • Comment number 14.

    Come on BBC, it's not Ozil, it's Özil, or Oezil if you can't use an alt key or charmap. you seemed to manage the Müller-Mueller transliteration OK..

    weak. if you're going to write a feature about a player and his virtues, at least get his name right.

  • Comment number 15.

    Özil is as German as Rooney is English.

    No adoption required, born there.

  • Comment number 16.

    I wouldn't say for most of those players that Germany is their "adopted" land. The only player not born in Germany is Cacau so you could deem Germany his adopted nation, but the rest are pretty much Germans. Boateng, Khadira, Aogo all have German mothers and the rest were born there. I think its great that Germany is finally tapping into its minority talent and not letting them play for Turkey etc. Turkey shouldn't go for these players, they live in Germany.

  • Comment number 17.

    Very good player but we always rave about foreign stars. What would the bloggers all be saying about Lampard / Gerrard /Rooney if they had passed the ball to the keeper when through 1 on 1 as Ozil did Wednesday evening before his goal?

  • Comment number 18.

    I'll rate Özil as a player when he stops diving. If the referee in the Ghana game had been more alert then he would have booked Özil for a blatant dive and - together with his earlier yellow, again for diving - he would not even be on the pitch against England.

    As he is playing though it becomes vitally important that Gareth Barry finds his form and protects the space just in front of the England defence. Anything else and the Germans will have a field day.

  • Comment number 19.

    England could overpower Germany with pace and power. Not sure the German youngsters have the mental steel to resist an early England blitz.

    But if they do, and get time and space to settle and play their game, England will be outplayed. Then it's a question of the distinctly under-performing German striker force finishing their chances.

    Depends on which England turns up. Depends on which Podolski (and Klose) turns up, too.

    I haven't looked forward to a game as much as this in years.

  • Comment number 20.

    I predicted the kid to take this world cup by storm. Looking forward to another good performance by him. The way he sees spaces that others can't kind of reminds me of Xavi, albeit playing further up the pitch.

  • Comment number 21.

    This guy is a very good player, and will be for many years to come. Given that our holding player, Barry, isn't the best, and that our wide players aren't going to do a great job of tracking back, I think Ozil will have space to work in. Thankfully, I don't think the spearhead of Germany's attack is what it has been in recent years, with a fading Klose, an emerging Muller (though he has been played from the right), and the enigmatic Gomez and Cacau.

    I can see an open, but ultimately low-scoring game.

  • Comment number 22.

    Re Post #14

    As he's bound to clean up against England perhaps we should just pronounce it Izal. 'specially if Loew names Germany's number 22 Hans Joerg Butt in the side ;-)

  • Comment number 23.

    18. At 5:26pm on 25 Jun 2010, Jon wrote:
    I'll rate Özil as a player when he stops diving.

    Very exacting standards, Jon.

    I distinctly remember Rooney diving on a few occasions, doesn't mean that much.

    They all do it now and then, especially when they feel they're not getting the protection they deserve - even Ronaldo apparently only play-acts when he's not being protected against the rough stuff.

  • Comment number 24.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 25.

    Nice blog. however, if there is no "umlaut" above the O it should be Oezil, rant over.
    Plus, as a fan of the england cricket team I can't argue with the origin of any players.

  • Comment number 26.

    at #3 and because i know you want to know let me help you - I am GREEK BRITISH - now you go work that one out...

  • Comment number 27.

    germany will win ozil is a muslim inshAllah they'll win

  • Comment number 28.

    gunner-zp - he was incredible in that final, wasn't he? I remember doing the live text thinking 'who the hell is this kid?' Tore us apart. I hope Stuart Pearce has come up with a plan to stop him since.

    Gangsta Agger - brilliant shout. He's got a bit of Xavi's vision, a bit of the jinking of Iniesta and bit of the genius of Messi. He's not as good as any of them yet, but no wonder he wants to play for Barcelona...

  • Comment number 29.

    You English are taking the Germans too casually..They have the best players in each position and after watching England's last three games I can quite easily say that the quarter final is going to be between Argentina and Germany..
    Sorry England your journey has come to an end!

  • Comment number 30.

    #28 Jonathan wrote: 'but no wonder he wants to play for Barcelona...'

    blimey...not another one..why don't Barca just set up their own league..!? Nice blog, but shouldn't we be trying to put the wind up the Germans instead of always building them up all the time? Anyway, Japan's Honda has been the tournaments' main man so far. What do you think?

  • Comment number 31.

    at #8
    Typical England I agree with you HOWEVER we seem to play better against the Germans and Argies - if we really have talent which we do, and if Capello does his work properly we will be in the semis and PROUD - I rather we beat Germany and Argentina than Ghana and Korea - where is the fun in that... Lets win it against the best ! ENGLAND HAS NO ONE TO BE AFRAID OFF BUT ENGLAND !

  • Comment number 32.

    Before this tournament Germany were written off by everyone, including their own fans and media. I have seen nothing in any of their performances so far to indicate that they have the quality to defeat England.

    Yes, Ozil is going to be a good player, but he is not the finished article yet and will struggle against an experienced midfield who will deprive him of the space he was given in the group games against lesser opposition.

    England will easily see off this German team, they have far too much quality for what is fundamentally a weak German team.

  • Comment number 33.

    JoC - haha. OK, maybe he'll sign for Forest instead one day...

    Agree on Honda - he's been magnificent. Really liked him when I saw him a couple of times for CSKA last season. Still think Sorensen should have saved those two free-kicks, though.

  • Comment number 34.

    The Germans may be known as "ruthless, clinical, efficient" but England are seen as "Team of Ego, Win at any cost football, Parking 11 Buses"!!

    I'm in a dillema as i'm a great supporter of teams that play good football and hate teams that park 11 buses, so do I support a team that is enjoyable to watch or my country?? I wished we played good football rather than lumping the ball up and hope for the best, or park 11 buses, so that i didn't need compromise like this!!

    Come on England, winning shouldn't be everything, but winning with style is what we would like to see. It really is embarrassing watching a "Footballing Superpower Nation" play such dire football. Just look at Italy!!

  • Comment number 35.

    at #5

    Read the Story to. He was in tears at in interview.

    at Stevo
    Stevo i saw the final last year and he looked impressive. He reminded me of fabregas( when he first came to arsenal) with a little touch of messi. Find it impressive that the german coach picks out these young lads for a world cup.Feel that might be the major point that england will beat them in the last 16 - lack of experience.Feel there time might come and if they develop on the pitch they might be up for a win at a major tournement.
    Wished Don Fabio would have taken 2-3 more of our young lads to South Africa.

  • Comment number 36.

    It says a lot when we focus on one German player rather than the efficient machine which steamrollers all in its path (as is usually the case). The Germans form coming into the cup wasn't good and they only played well against the Aussies (who were down to ten for most of the 2nd half).

    Their right back is slow as sin and if Schweinsteiger isn't fit who are they gonna play in centre mid? They're making do with Khedira already and Trochowski is rubbish! Mertesacker is the only half decent centre back in the squad and Rooney has scored more goals than all their strikers put together this season.

    Beckenbauer - prepare for egg on face...

  • Comment number 37.

    at #3
    he is Turkish not German. Fact.

    at #15
    you are right - Rooney strictly speaking is Irish.

    at everyone - who cares whether his name is Ozil or oezil or whatever as long as we mark him well and as long as we get through - we should see the Germans as an obsticle that needs to get out of the way for an opportunity to sort out our differences with Diego Maradona ! :))) and if Defoe scores with his hand it will be GREATTTTT followed by a brilliant run and goal by J Cole hahaha what a script that would be loool

    come on England !

  • Comment number 38.

    Pretty much every time the Beeb single out a player as a team's "main threat" before a big match, the said player is non-existent in the match itself. So in a way it's a good countermeasure but makes the journalist look stupid. Regardless of how Özil plays I can't see Ingerlund winning.

    "every tournament has a man who makes a reputation"

    errr who exactly were this men in, say, the last three tournaments?

  • Comment number 39.

    The chorus of the currently most popular World Cup song in Germany goes:
    "We don't care who's gonna win the Cup as long as it isn't Italy!"

    Wish fulfilled. So we can fall to England. ;-)

    But there are always those nasty second thoughts ...

  • Comment number 40.

    England v Argentina is ever tasty


    Messi v Mesut is an exciting prospect, too.

  • Comment number 41.

    Ozil was born in Germany, so as others have said, his situation is different from someone like Cacau, although he's also entitled to play for Germany, and certainly different to someone like Almunia, who came over to England at the age of 27 to play for Arsenal, and hasn't grown up in England, so it was understandable that the thought of him playing for England was a bit strange for some people. Ozil was born in Germany and lived all his life there, so this is not a case of a player changing nationalities just to play international football. If we look at the England cricket team, there are obviously the examples of the South African born players who now play for England, but the more obvious parallel with Ozil are British Asian players like Rashid, Shahzad and Bopara, who, although they have Asian parentage (like Ozil has Turkish parentage), they were all born in England, received their education in this country and developed their cricketing skills in UK cricket academies, so there is no question of them playing for England or it being a case of anyone "poaching" these players.

  • Comment number 42.

    Saw him in the U-21s last year and, like you, was very, very impressed. Like all the very best palyers, he seemed to be playing at a different speed to everyone else, seeming to have more time than was possible. Definitely a star for the future - but hopefully not this time!

  • Comment number 43.

    Ozil is a decent player... yes... but i think the germans should be more worried about the english link play... lampard showed touches of brilliance in the midfield... the defence splitting pass to rooney... gerrard and rooney linked well in the first half and james milner will trouble the weak german defenders with his crossing and should get the better of badstuber who personally ive never seen play well... nani took him to pieces in the champ league...

    the english frustration is mounting about the lack of goals... only a matter of time before rooney finds his shooting boots and shows the germans how to put the chances away... then the flood gates will open... england should hav won the slovenia game 5-0... if we keep creating chances... watever ozil does will be nulified... especially by gareth barry who played well against algeria and although his poor performance against slovenia is finding his form... he is key though... without him england will fall apart against big teams

  • Comment number 44.

    Well, I think that England will convincingly will the match 3-1 or may be 4-1. But it´s just a game and not war.

  • Comment number 45.

    With respect to his diving, yes it would be good if he cut it out (the worst example was in the first game against Australia), however, we shouldn't forget that England players have also dived in the past, and even in this world cup, I remember a dive by Gerrard against Algeria that won him a freekick and the commentators unsurprisingly didn't mention it.

  • Comment number 46.

    If the England of the qualifiers turn up we will win it. Nothing else will do. I am really glad that Rooney has not scored yet. Keep your powder dry Wazza. Wait for a German then let fly. Would this be sweet?

    Germans first, then Rooney hand balls the winner against the Argies. After that who would care?

  • Comment number 47.

    If Rooney has struggled against USA, Algeria and Slovenia I don't think he has much chance against a far superior German defence, optimism is fine but realism is better, I believe Capello should employ Gareth Barry to man-mark Ozil out of the game, he is their creative hub and I believe Germany would suffer with Ozil out of the game

  • Comment number 48.

    Some interesting comments about England seeing off a "fundamentally weak Germany". This is nonsense. At no point have England looked like a quality team. Where is the evidence? Two poor performances and a decent one against moderate opposition in Slovenia and suddenly we're world beaters. Germany have been more convincing, even when 10 against 11 v Serbia, Germany were the better team. They will have looked at England's performances so far and are probably thinking, hmm they've been a bit rubbish haven't they? We can beat this lot...

    That said, it's a young German team and although they are potentially the best German team since Euro '96 I think this World Cup is one too soon for them. England may just have enough nous to get through this one, but it's far from a gimme.

  • Comment number 49.

    Personally I would be more worried about Podolski than Ozil. German discipline and organization is also a concern. Personally I think it will be a close game and dread the thought of PKs!

  • Comment number 50.

    Oezil looks a good little player. Not the finished article by any means but has that bit of talent that can turn games. Interesting to see the Germans embrace him as one of their own. And what about the other 3 million Turks in Germany that are generally not afforded first class status? Are they now accepted as German too or is it just the ones who turn out to be their best players at the world cup that they claim as Germans?

    At #15 - You're talking utter cods mate. Yes he was born there but to suggest that Oezil is as German as Rooney is English could only be true if Rooney had a Turkish first name, a Turkish second name, and Turkish family.

  • Comment number 51.

    Re: ibiza6403

    Three of germany's key attacking talent are actually Polish. It's a shame such a great nation as Germany have to pilfer players from across the border.

  • Comment number 52.

    germans aint all that, the fact they keep going on about pens tells us they are scared and will play for a draw, i think we'll cane them 5 nil and meet up with mexico on the quarters.
    ozil was only ok against australia and any of us would of looked good against them!

  • Comment number 53.

    Some comments here amuse me, so apparently England are stronger in every department compared to Germany and showed this by scoring 2 goals in 270 minutes of football and really "terrorised" USA and Algeria and took Slovenia to pieces with a 1:0 victory. I bet German and all other defences left in the tournament are sooo worried about facing this "DEADLY" England attack.

  • Comment number 54.

    Ozil, Podolski, Klose, Tasci, Boaeteng, Khedira, Aogo,Trochowski,Marin, Cacau. That's nearly half their squad that isn't even German.

  • Comment number 55.

    The comment about his 'adopted country' is pretty misplaced and unfortunate. Given that the guy was born and raised in germany, you can only be commenting on the way he looks. The English team isn't exactly aryan in appearence, perhaps snide comments should be made about their origin.

  • Comment number 56.

    No. 54, all born in Germany with at least one German parent apart from Cacau.

    You're point is what exactly?

  • Comment number 57.

    If England are going to have any chance of winning they will have to improve their performance IMMEASURABLY from the previous 3 games and also not get sucked in by the ridiculous media hype and keep their heads.

  • Comment number 58.

    A player should play for the country that developed him as a footballer.

    Ozil might have turkish family, but he develpoed his talent and skills in the german football system, playing for german teams, under german coaches, with german team mates and german fans.

    If he now played for Turkey, that would be much more like poaching than the way it is now...Turkey and its football system has done nothing in the development of him, given him nothing, all he has from Turkey is his name...

    he plays for Germany and its 100% fair. Seems to me that most people who say otherwise are perhaps a little jealous of this young german talent, and just being spiteful. It's common sense.

  • Comment number 59.

    Oh man, it's so annoying - always the same wrong insults with the nationalities of the German players. So let's be clear:
    Özil - Turkish parents, born, raised and socialised in Germany, played in every German youth team, had a German and a Turkish passport (dual-citizenship) and gave is Turkish passport back.

    Klose and Podolski - born in Poland (that's correct), moved to Germany as kids (as so called Spätaussiedler, which means they were part of the German minority in this country - you know, the borders looked quite different at the beginning of last century, take a history-book and learn ;-) ), they both were raised and socialised in Germany.

    Khedira, Tasci, Boateng, Gomez... - Foreign fathers, German mothers, all born, raised and socialised in Germany.

    So please, please stop this rubbish, okay!?

    You're jealous about these talented players? Then reform your EPL to be more talent-friendly and tell your topclubs to stop buying middle-class-foreign-players and instead play young english talents.

    2 Days to go - may the better team win... hopefully Germany ;-)

  • Comment number 60.

    If Ozil, Podolski, Klose,Tasci, Khedira, Aogo, Trochowski,and Marin and you forgot Gomes are not German dispite being born in Germany some to German mothers then Ferdinad, SWP, Lennon, Heskey, Defoe, Ashley Cole and Ledley King are not English either.

  • Comment number 61.

    This is a clear cut case of the media talking up the ability of a very ordinary player. Ozil missed a hatful of chances against that crack outfit the Aussie's and then he missed a one on one against Ghana (that someone of genuine real ability would have tucked away after probably rounding the stricken keeper. If he is Germany's trump card we can start planning for the quarter final.

  • Comment number 62.

    Perhaps the most gifted young player in European football after Lionel Messi. Amazingly talented.

  • Comment number 63.

    Number 54, like a previous poster said, most of the players you mention are mixed race, and have spent all their life in Germany. With respect to Podolski and Klose, they spent most of their life in Germany. Moreover, their parents were given Aussiedler (Right of return) status because their parents/grandparents were German citizens (or ethically German) in the prior to WW2. Moreover, if you claim someone like Gomez is not German, then many of our mixed race players like Ashley Cole aren't English either, which most people would say is not right.

  • Comment number 64.

    Is it possible that Landon Donovan scored the goal that knocked England out of the world cup? If there are no more surprises in the remaining matches it going to be Germany, Argentina, Spain and Brazil or Holland in the final for England and they got only themselves to blame.

  • Comment number 65.

    Comment 60, Gerard:

    Your point is flawed and deeply racist. There is a HUGE difference between the 'German-ness' of a person born in Poland (e.g. Klose, Podolski) and the 'Englishness' of the players you list - i.e. the team's black players, all born and bred in England.

    Being black is absolutely no form of foreigness but being born in a different country does constitute a more complex issue over nationality. That's not to say Klose and Podolski shouldn't play for Germany - if they feel German then that's all that matters - but don't stupidly liken this issue to skin colour, you're just embarassing yourself.

  • Comment number 66.

    50 welease_wodewick wrote:
    At #15 - You're talking utter cods mate. Yes he was born there but to suggest that Oezil is as German as Rooney is English could only be true if Rooney had a Turkish first name, a Turkish second name, and Turkish family.

    Rooney = born in England, but of Irish descent (both parents). Obviously he's English enough to play for England, no?

    Oezil = born in Germany, but of Turkish descent (both parents). Obviously he's German enough to play for Germany, no?

    Obviously you now see my point, mate?

    Nobody in their right mind, apart from the BNP, would question the black English players playing for England. So why question Oezil and co?

  • Comment number 67.

    It's Özil, not Ozil. Where is the umlaut? If it cannot be displayed, then the best approximation is Oezil, like Joachim Löw's surname is sometimes written "Loew".

    I see poster #25 has made the same point already, but it needs repeating!

  • Comment number 68.

    Germany have looked great going forward but Ghana had chances against them and they have already been beaten by Serbia. I also think the groups have been misleading. England have played poorly overall but are unbeaten and all 3 teams were strong and organised. Australia were a pale shadow of 4 years ago and weaker than the 3 England faced. I also think England are the only team left with "mixed midfielders," who can attack and defend. If he has to Gerrerd can put his boot in, so can Rooney. Germany are a good side but we should not be bricking ourselves.

  • Comment number 69.

    Özil is a major talent, but so far only Serbia of Germany's three opponents have got close to him and restricted his space, and if you do this early on it does change his mood significantly.

    In the Bundesliga this past season he has had some good performances, but in key away games (the defeats in Dortmund, Munich and Hamburg notably) he was invisible for vast swathes of the game, and became increasingly disinterested as the game wears on. England needs to stifle him early - if he gets into his rhythm in the first 30 minutes, that's when he becomes a major factor.

  • Comment number 70.

    Podolski and Klose may have been born in Poland but have lived in Germany since they were 2 and 7 respectively. So essentially they were at least bred in Germany, if not born there. And I obviously agree with number 65 comment's point about England's black or mixed race players. Of course they are English, and no one should make it a point of discussion at all.

  • Comment number 71.

    I found this on a website profile: "Özil was born on October 15, 1988 in Gelsenkirchen to third generation Turkish immigrants".

    In other words, the last people in his family to be born and raised in Turkey were his great-grandparents. If you're going to insist that this still makes him Turkish, then how many players in the current England team would need to be re-classified (to use the old apartheid terminology) as, say, Irish or Jamaican or Nigerian? There's an unpleasant whiff of BNP logic running through some of these posts, which chimes in depressingly with the way our tabloids stir it whenever we play Germany. Kudos to posts 59 and 63 for adding some facts and perspective.

  • Comment number 72.

    54 bazza001 wrote:

    Ozil, Podolski, Klose, Tasci, Boaeteng, Khedira, Aogo,Trochowski,Marin, Cacau. That's nearly half their squad that isn't even German.

    You forgot Gomez, bazza....

    Oezil - born and raised in Germany
    Kedira - born and raised in Germany, German mother
    Boateng - born and raised in Germany, German mother
    Podolski - born in Poland to German/Silesian parents, moved to Germany at age 2
    Klose - born in Poland to German/Silesian parents, moved to Germany at age 6
    Tasci - born and raised in Germany
    Aogo - born and raised in Germany, German mother
    Gomez - born and raised in Germany, German mother
    Trochowski - born in Poland (Pomerania), moved to Germany at age 5
    Marin - born in Bosnia, moved to Germany at age 2
    Cacau - born and raised in Brazil, been playing in Germany since 1999

    To me, they are all German enough.
    Otoh, if they lose a penalty shoootout, they are not....

  • Comment number 73.

    quite simply the lads class and every world cup produces maybe one or two stars, at 21 Ozil in his 1st world cup has set it alight with at least 2 quality performances! Germany has a very bright future with this lad as playmaker!

  • Comment number 74.

    Mesut Ozil is as much German as the Pope is Muslim, the boy is 100% Turkish. His parent can just about speak German let alone sing the national anthem. The German FA got to him before the Turks just like Serdar Tasci of Stuttgart, funny how you Germans choose a Turk when it suits you...

  • Comment number 75.

    Germany are definately beatable but are never a push over. We will need to be more ruthless in front of goal from now on in the tournament. We can't let the chances like we had a gainst Slovenia go against the top teams. We need a fit Rooney to start finding his feet in this tournament or it is going to be too late if he is not careful. The stage is set for our big players to start playing i.e. Rooney, Gerrard and Lampard. They will never get a better chance to mark themselves in the history books over the next couple of weeks. At the very least they need to leave every ounce of blood and sweat on the pitch and play like the three lions means as much to them as it does to us fans.

  • Comment number 76.

    What about Owen Hargreaves? You guys never complained when he played for England?
    It's so funny that you guys think that players from all the other countries dive but the English are sent from heaven and are angels.. HYPOCRITES.......

  • Comment number 77.

    And another thing the climate in SA is perfectly suited to our 100 mile an hour Premier league style. We need to use this to our advantage and out work Germany and the other teams if we go further. Our best chance is to really up the tempo and maintain it for 90 minutes. Ordinarily we can't manage this in WC's due to the hot summer temperatures. We have the players on the day to play this high tempo game. Particularly Rooney, Gerrard, Lampard, Cole, Milner etc. We need premiership football at it's best. I think Defoe might give them a few problems as well. Not the best at linking up the play as he is a bit light weight but he has pace and can certainly finish. The German defence won't like playing against him and Rooney (if fit). Bring it on. Looking forward to it and dreading it at the same time. Please no penalties this time!

  • Comment number 78.

    I love the fact that Some of the German team including Ozil are not even German

  • Comment number 79.

    65 You are assuming I am white when you say my point is flawed and deeply raceist.To the contrary the point I am trying to make in response to 54 is that all the Germans I mentioned including including Klose and Podolski were either born in Germany to German mothers and immigrant fathers or raised in Germany and as such are as German as the guys in the England team are English. Color has got nothing to do with it.

  • Comment number 80.

    8. At 11:11pm on 25 Jun 2010, Yozza wrote:

    I love the fact that Some of the German team including Ozil are not even German

    Complain about this comment


    As many other posters like 71 have said, this is a deeply flawed argument. Moreover, if you are following this argument, you have to similarly make the claim that many of our players like Ledley King are not English, which would be deeply offensive and rightly so. He's lived all his life in Germany. Indeed, as Teeside Mag says, "the last people in his family to be born and raised in Turkey were his great-grandparents." To be still not considered German would be very offensive.

  • Comment number 81.

    Id just like to say how refreshing it is to read fair but contrasting comments. The BBC does attract a certain group of people and judging by these comments, a very intelligent group. Both Germany and England have very good talent on their side but nothing can be assesed until the game kicks off I dont think. No matter how good a germany or england player is, it can all change on the day. What a refreshing read to the usual biased and one sided comments you get on youtube or skysports...thanks.

  • Comment number 82.

    Come on England ... don't forget: Home sweet Home ... The tea ... the Yorkshire pudding ... the fish and chips ... Why have all this Africa stuff ... In a few weeks the PL starts again ... rolling, rolling ... Pound after Pound by the seconds ... forget about 3 lions, focus on the 3 k a day ... merry old England ? Which fool said that? What does it mean?
    Oh yes, that Italian keeps torturing us. .. But it'll go away ... Champions League is what's our proper business ... winning it just like this year - oops - sorry: cough

  • Comment number 83.

    To #74? Are you jealous or something? Oezil could've chosen Turkey if he wanted but he didn't. He wasn't forced to choose Germany, just like KP Boateng wasn't forced to move to Ghana by the Ghanaian?? lol FA (sorry if its wrong). And you're comment ''funny how you Germans choose a Turk when it suits you...'' its even funnier how 'you turks' choose Germany to emigrate to...isn't it?

  • Comment number 84.

    I don't see England progressing. Though Germany haven't been perfect so far, they have looked better than England. We do play better in the big games, so it will definitely be a classic, but probably just with an unhappy ending.

    To be honest, i'd prefer Germany to win if they play good football. The teams who play with style should be rewarded (Spain, Germany, Argentina, Brazil), and the teams who battle for a 1-0 against mediocre opposition deserve to fail (France, Italy, England). I hope England lift their game and this is a turning point for us. If we could play like we can do at our best then we are able to beat anyone. I just think that we have thrown away our easy draw and fallen into the lion's den. If Germany don't kill us then Argentina will.

  • Comment number 85.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 86.

    38, Sir Alex Ferguson dried my hair. wrote:
    "every tournament has a man who makes a reputation"
    errr who exactly were this men in, say, the last three tournaments?


    I guess this excludes established stars, so should be mostly youngsters or those from less well-known teams. And not every tournament produces a new star, while some produce more than one.

    Opinions vary - here are a few I can remember who became stars during the tournament:

    Euros 2008 - Arshavin, Pavlyuchenko. I thought they'd get Russia the title, but they bottled it against Spain.
    WC 2006 - Podolski. Scored 3 goals and beat Messi and Ronaldo (and Torres for that matter) to best young player award.
    Euros 2004 - Rooney (18, wasn't he?). Was on course to win the competition almost single-handedly for England when he got injured.
    2002 - Klose. Scored five goals, all with his head if I remember correctly.

    And going back to my favourite WC in 1990 - Schilacci, Milla (38 yrs old!)

    2010 candidates - Honda, Oezil, KP Boateng, Tshabalala (ok, that last one is a sentimental pick)

  • Comment number 87.

    Its ironic that we are getting all these German stereotypes when half the opposition have barely German ancestry. England vs Turkey B on Sunday barely interests me - One of whom will provide shooting practice for Higuain and Co. in the next round.

  • Comment number 88.

    Last comment: How do those pointing their fingers at foreign-sounding (or looking) players feel about, say, German-born players playing for Turkey, or Ghana, or English-born players turning out for Nigeria or Ireland?

    After having received your entire football schooling in one country, is it fair to go off to play for another?

    It's one thing for the cricketers to do it, but football?

  • Comment number 89.

    It seems weird to me that we accept players like Gomez, Podolski and Klose as 100% German but then when theres a mention of Ozil we are all debating whether the fella is German. He is certainly more German than Podolski! Podolski came to Germany when he was 5, Ozil was born and raised in Germany. He went through the German academy, he developed his football in Germany, he doesnt speak fluent Turkish, German is his first language, the guy's German end of discussion!

    Im not 100% convinced with Ozil yet, he has a lot of hype, but he aint no Messi yet. Hes a fine player, but i dont think hes an amazing player you cant make that call after seeing him in just 3 matches!!! He may be a great but we need to look at him for a longer space of time to make that call. He has a golden opportunity to prove his doubters wrong against England, i wish the fella every every success! Walcott was supposed to be our Henry remember, but for England he hasnt been fantastic and for Arsenal he cant even get onto the first team regularly so we should have learnt by now not to get excited by media hype.

  • Comment number 90.

    Weird that there seem to be so many disparaging references to the migrant background of some of the German players. Surely its a positive, and something France, England and Holland worked out 30 years ago.

    Do any of the posters who attempt to insinuate this somehow isn't a German team feel the same way about England? Why is Mesut Ozil somehow less German as the child of Turkish immigrants, than Rooney or Heskey as the offspring of Irish/Jamaican parents are English. Creepy.

    A great example is post 50. He writes:

    At #15 - You're talking utter cods mate. Yes he was born there but to suggest that Oezil is as German as Rooney is English could only be true if Rooney had a Turkish first name, a Turkish second name, and Turkish family.

    Unless I'm mistaken,Rooney has an Irish name and hails from an Irish family. No different to Ozil. Get over it people.

    With the exception of Cacau, whose background reminds me of an England cricketer, every member of that German team is German. The two Polish born players are ethnic Germans who took their young sons to Germany as soon as the political situation permitted it.Boateng, Gomez and Khedira all have a German parent and were born and raised there.

    Shocking toleration of selective racism on a BBC site

  • Comment number 91.

    I don't understand the comment about Özil "adopting Germany" (???) It's like Lampard adopting England. If we want to split hairs about parents place of birth etc we should also know that around 25 German players have played for other countries in the last 20 years (mainly for Turkey, many for Croatia and others, current example is Ghana's Boateng who is 100% German). The number of French players playing for other nations must be around 40-50 (Algeria and Senegal have been playing with more French players than nationals). Binational families have become so usual in Germany, France or UK like mononational ones

  • Comment number 92.

    87. At 00:01am on 26 Jun 2010, qualityreading wrote:

    Its ironic that we are getting all these German stereotypes when half the opposition have barely German ancestry. England vs Turkey B on Sunday barely interests me -

    There are exactly two players of Turkish descent in the German team and only one of them is a regular.

    Next thing you'll say it's not England v Germany, but Turkey B v Nigeria C.

    Some English fans are criticizing the Germans for not being Aryan enough - is this ironic or what?

  • Comment number 93.

    re. the umlaut - isn't Ozil a name of Turkish origin? If so the blog is likely to be correct in omitting the umlaut.

  • Comment number 94.

    I wonder if he was a blond haired blue eyed Türk (With no German blood, fully Turkish Blonds aren't uncommon you know!) would we be having these conversations about his ethnicity? People would probably think he was a pure German, what with his surname starting with character Ö. Just because he has darker skin people notice him and make queries about his origin.

    This is coming from a Türk who is jealous that he picked Germany instead of Türkiye, yet I fully defend his right to play for Germany, although I admit I would choose Türkiye rather than England =P

    As somebody else mentioned Rooney is Irish, so can Germans cry foul that he is playing for England? The mix raced and black players too obviously, but Rooney is a better example since people don't know about since his foreign nature isn't skin deep, like my example of a blonde Türk.

  • Comment number 95.

    @Turkish - I assume you are aware that 8 members of the Turkey squad that reached the semi final in 2002 were born, raised and received their football education in Germany? Did that bother you as well?

  • Comment number 96.

    @qualityreading - one could easily turn your comment around, and say Germany v Barbados B is of little interest.

  • Comment number 97.

    To the comments saying that Germany are average- beating a 10 man of day oz team, beaten of serbia, and struggling in thier last game!! Get a grip, England struggled again USA, Algeria and Slovenia!!! I'd say it is pretty even as always when these two teams play, but c'mon do not slag the German performances after England's showing! Poty Kettle black spring to mind

  • Comment number 98.

    I have read now some comments here and half of them are, sorry, disgraceful. It seems that some English fans have a bad feeling when some German players are not "ethnically pure" Germans, obviously other than "ethnically" these German-born, German-raised players can only be considered 100% German. But that only happens with Germany, fortunately, these fans don't use those criteria for England or France. France won the WC with a team in which just 2-3 players in the starting 11 were "ethnically French" and everybody seemed to be ok with that, fortunately. Applying those same "ethnic criteria" to the English team you would have to say that every black or mixed England player is not English but just "adopted" England for playing in the team, any other player having one Irish, Welsh or Scottish parent wouldn't be English either. I've never heard English fans upset about Canadian-born and raised Hargreaves playing for a foreign team like England. It annoys me that those fans wish an ethnically German team. Why?

  • Comment number 99.

    Blimey, I am amazed at the number of comments suggesting the German's aren't Germans at all. FIFA have rules about this kind of thing, and if they pass those rules, then they are German! It doesn't really matter though as we still have to beat them!

    To the chap in question Oezil, yes he looks a bit tasty but has the nasty habit of diving a lot. He got booked in the first game for it and was lucky not to get booked in the last game. I think that our defence are going to have to be very careful. Also it is probably a good idea not to play Heskey this time as they way people are reacting to the slightest brush of an elbow in the last few games, he won't last 5 minutes!!

    On a slightly different note, I saw for the first time today a player get booked for asking the referee to book someone else. I thought that FIFA were clamping down on that this time, yet it's the only booking I have seen for this offence - and I have watched all the games so far. It should be punished retrospectively as it is disgusting.

    I think we might just edge it normal time on Sunday. Come on England!

  • Comment number 100.

    , Catalan Power

    dont tar us all with the idiotic, and quite frankly shocking comments from some people on here.

    given the events of WW2, i cant believe some people are complaining that the german side isnt "german" enough. complete rubbish.

    back to the game itself. it will be tough but by no means impossible. we will need to raise our game again, which we are capable of. germany have their flaws, and we must exploit them, because we wont get many chances.

    i have friends in germany, and its clear from speaking to them this is almost as big a game for them as it is for us. obviously hoping for a win, but if we fail to win, all i ask is that the side gives 100% and goes down fighting, rather than with a whimper

    heart says 2-1 england
    head says 1-0 germany

    hope my heart is right


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