Mesut Ozil started for Germany as they struggled to create anything of note and drew 0-0 with Poland.
Facing a Szczesnyless Poland (he’s injured but should be back for the next game), Mesut had yet another quiet game. Despite getting an assist in the last game he has been quiet by his standards, burnout, no doubt by the Premier League season and the nonsense he had to listen to for nine months.
The same could be said of his teammates.
His class, however, was still evident, if you cared enough to look carefully, but his frustration was there for all to see. At times, his normal languid body style took on a more droopy appearance, and you could be forgiven for thinking he wasn’t even on the pitch at times.
Booked in the first half for a nothing tug on a Krychowiak, he was also making short runs in and around the box that weren’t being picked up. Subtle shifts and steps away from his marker left him free but not found.
It’s the type of movement he makes often and is hard for the TV cameras to pick up.
To truly appreciate Ozil, you need to see him live and unedited.
Occupying what seemed to be a false nine position at times, Ozil roamed around the front three, always finding space but needing someone like himself to pick him out. No-one did and by the break the game was goalless with not a single shot on target from the 10 attempted (Germany 8, Poland 2).
The second half started and Poland should have snatched the lead immediately, only to see Milik throw his face at the ball and miss. Seconds later Germany registered the game’s first shot on target as Gotze’s tame effort was parried by Lukasz Fabianski.
The game, with 20 to go, was now more stretched and chances were starting to appear for both sides. Milik was wasteful time and again as the Poles created the most dangerous chances.
Ozil’s ability was on display when produced a fine save from Fabianski, sweeping a cross goalwards with the wave of his magic leg. He shoots more than you think, and is better than most give him credit for.
In the end, it was a poor display from one of the tournament’s favourites, though had they scored and won 1-0 we would no doubt be talking about their ‘efficiency’ and other such stereotypes. While many will focus on Ozil, simply because he’s a name from close to home, the whole German side aren’t quite at it and it’s unfair to finger just him.
Unless he wants you to, obviously.