Arsenal Midfielder Mesut Ozil's Top 6 Germany Moments
Would it be fair to say that to a certain extent we've all overlooked Arsenal's Mesut Ozil ahead of this summer's World Cup?
When we partner our current fixation with the brilliance of Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich's German stars, such as Mario Goetze and Marco Reus, with a rather passable if not excellent first season for Ozil at Arsenal, we do tend to overlook just how important the former Werder Bremen and Real Madrid star is to Joachim Loew's Die Mannschaft hopes and dreams.
It seems like a decade has passed, rather than just four years, since the last World Cup in South Africa in which a young 21-year-old Ozil stepped on to the world stage and excited the sport to no bounds. Four seasons later, with a spell at Madrid having come and gone, Ozil may be a better player, who has matured and proved himself a winner, but little of that excitement still remains when he throws on a Germany top.
As such, let us now look back at some of his greatest moments for Germany and why we should certainly be getting excited about this Arsenal player's prospects in Brazil.
Assist vs. Australia: 2010 World Cup Group D
Our first highlight comes in none other than Germany's opening game of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, as Joachim Loew's side took to the task of an optimistic Australian side in Group D.
Yet it was Die Mannschaft who ultimately proved far too strong for the Socceroos, with a resounding 4-0 win. Germany had hit the ground running in a competition that many considered theirs for the taking.
Our star midfielder played the duration of the game, offering everything in attack, yet his only technical assist came late on in the 70th minute when a wonderful pass from Holger Badstuber found the then-Bremen star breaking through the Australian defence. From there, Ozil managed to look up and square the ball to the oncoming Cacau to score his first and last World Cup goal.
Assist vs. England: 2010 World Cup Last 16
In one of the more dramatic World Cup games of this current generation, Ozil's next highlight comes against England when the Three Lions came up against Germany in the 2010 World Cup round of 16.
Of course no one will forget the Frank Lampard disallowed goal that could have levelled England's chances whilst the game was at 2-1, but it was Ozil and Co. who ultimately proved their worth over the 90 minutes with a resounding 4-1 win.
Although Ozil had a number of chances to score for Germany on the day, his moment of magic came in the 70th minute when a long ball found the former Madrid star sprinting past Gareth Barry in a feat of sheer athleticism, only to place the ball passed Glen Johnson and set Thomas Mueller up for his second goal of the game. Germany had beaten England resoundingly.
Goal vs. Belgium: Euro 2012 Qualifying Group
Although this goal will add little weight to the category of "Important Mezut Ozil goals for Germany," the Arsenal playmaker will undoubtedly pick out this fine effort against Belgium in a somewhat meaningless qualifier for Euro 2012 as one of his favourites.
Germany were already well on their way to Euro 2012 by this point, yet a tough task against an ever-evolving Belgium side proved an astute stage for Ozil to showcase his fantastic scoring abilities.
As the corner came in from Toni Kroos in the 30th minute, it made its way through the Belgian box to where it found an unsuspecting Sami Khedira at the back post. The Madrid defensive midfielder took a swing at the wandering pass, before ultimately opting to cut it back to his teammate for club and country at the time.
There Ozil turned and without a moment's hesitation thumped the ball past Simon Mignolet in goal. Germany went on to make it 10 wins from 10 and ended any hopes of Belgium making it to Euro 2012.
Assist vs. Argentina: 2010 World Cup Quarter-Finals
In what many would consider the height of Germany's power in the modern game, it was Argentina who faced the tough task of eliminating Die Mannschaft from the quarter-finals of the 2010 World Cup.
Unfortunately it just wasn't Diego Maradona's day as his side slumped to a disappointing 4-0 win to the Germans. A result that Ozil played no small part in ensuring.
In fact it was the former Madrid star who indeed pulled all the strings for Germany that day in his favoured role of attacking midfielder and playmaker-in-chief, just behind Miroslav Klose and in front of the central midfield of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Sami Khedira.
Yet the midfield magician's moment didn't come until the dying moments of the game when a counter-attack found the playmaker on the left of Argentina's attack with the ball at his feet. With a quick look up and a delightful dink he saw and found the delayed run of Klose who was more than happy to tap the ball into the back of the net. Germany were four goals up and into the World Cup semi-finals.
Assist vs. Denmark: Euro 2012 Group B
This moment of magic in Euro 2012 perhaps wasn't one of the most spectacular assists of Ozil's career, yet the goal that came from it was one of pure belief, which ensured that Germany marched on in the tournament with a 100 percent record from Group D.
In the 80th minute of a match that had pushed Die Mannschaft's resolve to its limits, against a very stubborn and well trained Denmark side, it was a counter-attack from the then Madrid star that finally looked to unlock Anders Lindegaard's goal.
What was ironic about the goal was that Ozil had in fact over-hit the pass along the edge of the Danish box, where it had whizzed past the oncoming Sami Khedira entirely. Then, just as the play looked finished, none other than right-back Lars Bender latched on to the stray ball and knocked home to win the game for Germany.
Goal vs. Ghana: 2010 World Cup Group D
As we can clearly see from this list, goals are often quite a rarity for Arsenal's star playmaker when playing for Germany in international competitions. Yet we were fortunate enough to get one outstanding moment of goalscoring brilliance from Ozil in the 2010 World Cup when his side came up against the formidable opponents of Ghana's Black Stars.
In a troubling group that had already seen Germany thump Australia but then slip up to Serbia, this final game against the African nation posed a potential upset of monumental consequences. Germany had never been eliminated from the first round of a World Cup, yet defeat to Ghana would certainly have ensured it.
As the game rumbled on, both sides threatened to take the lead, but it was a jink inside from Thomas Mueller, who then found Ozil on the edge of the box, that would define how this game would end.
The German star received the ball on his right foot with the slightest of flicks and with no more than a slight turn toward the Ghanaian goal he volleyed the ball with his left, straight past Richard Kingson in goal. One goal was enough to ensure victory and progression for Germany thanks to a moment of brilliance from Ozil.
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