World Cup 2010: Mesut Ozil Is the Fuel for Germany's Goal Machine

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World Cup 2010: Mesut Ozil Is the Fuel for Germany's Goal Machine
Joern Pollex/Getty Images

I think the lead has been buried for this German national team.

This isn't Klose, or Muller, or Schweinsteiger's World Cup.

This World Cup has been about Mesut Ozil and his effect on how the German attack is set up.

I certainly believe that if Michael Ballack was still in midfield for the Germans, they would not have scored 13 goals and four goals three times so far in this World Cup.

Although Ballack is a very fine player—a very good one—let's not underestimate him. His forte is definitely not the same as Oezil's, which is speed, pure speed, and acceleration.

The impact of a player that has as much pace and creativity as Ozil, will have an impact on how a team plays because players should shape a side's formation and not the other way around.

I wrote an article about the Dutch attack where I called, van Persie, Robben, Kuyt and Sneijder, the "Four Horsemen." Well, the Germans have one up on the Dutch. They have a five-headed attack that can pounce on you at any time, especially on the counterattack.

Schweinsteiger and Ozil playing together on the midfield and have the onus of instigating and setting up the attack while there's a three-pronged attack at the front, with Klose and Mueller on the outside, and Podolski in the middle.

However, Ozil is the fuel and the catalyst for everything that happens on attack for the Germans.

From watching Germany play, one can also see that one of their biggest strengths is the combination of the attack and the counterattack. All of their players are led by Ozil and his on-ball skills to try and make the extra pass on the attacking side of the field.

A well-placed cross, through a ball or simple pass, is often the difference between scoring and not scoring, and this German team takes the effort to make that final connection in front of the goal. This places doubt in the back of a defense's mind, and also makes it easier to break down. A multi-dimensional attack, which always makes the extra pass, plays havoc on a defense and goalkeeper.

Attacking is about positive decision making, especially on the counterattack.

Ozil always seemed to be on the ball when Germany needed a good decision on a counterattack. Pushing the attack is imperative to winning, and Ozil never gives up on an attack. That killer instinct is something that many of other teams didn't have in this tournament.

The only reason that Germany is able to be so confident on the counterattack and can play such a vertical style, is because of its solid defense and goalkeeper, which both don't get nearly enough credit. Being solid at the back gives you licence to be cavalier on attack.

This formula will be enough to get over a very good Spain side, which thrives on star goalkeeping and a very good defense. However, Spain needs to retain possession to develop its attack, which make them susceptible to Germany's tenacious and powerful attacking personality.

 

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