Joachim Low has revealed he received a ‘great reaction’ from Mesut Ozil after the German was dropped for their group game against Sweden.
“After the match against Sweden, Ozil showed a great reaction in training, as I expected from all who didn’t play,” Low told reporters at the Kazan Arena.
Ozil has become the whipping boy for this underperforming Germany side, with the media and fans alike blaming him for problems that are clearly not his fault.
— Mesut Özil (@MesutOzil1088) June 26, 2018
Although he has not performed to his world-class best at this tournament, perhaps due to the back problems he suffered all season and the knee problem he started the tournament with, Ozil still managed to create more than any other player in Germany’s opening group game against Mexico.
Ozil is an easy target with his body language making it seem like he doesn’t even care. But the stats show that is simply not true with the playmaker often covering more ground than his teammates and making a bigger defensive contribution than he ever gets credit for.
Although Germany won against Sweden, it took a 95th-minute free-kick from Toni Kroos – a player who was being widely criticised for his poor performance until the pulled one out of the bag at the death.
But results change narratives.
Germany, arguably, played no better against the Swedes than they did against Mexico, however, they won the match and that is being hailed, by some, as proof that Ozil is indeed the problem.
Anyone who watched Low’s men against Sweden with unbiased eyes will tell you it was an awful match that was crying out for Ozil’s genius to unlock the defence.
In his last 9 tournament games, Thomas Müller has played 870 minutes, has 1 assist and has scored 0 goals. Imagine if he was Turkish, played for Arsenal and had eyes that made it look like he'd just woken up. https://t.co/VHjsDevipF
— Oscar (@Reunewal) June 25, 2018
Their entire attacking strategy seemed to consist of playing it wide to a fullback who would then cross into the box, gifting possession back to Sweden.
Germany go into their final group game, against South Korea, with only Mexico in Group F assured of a last-16 place and the remaining three, theoretically at least, still able to qualify.
A point for the Germans might be enough to seal their place in the knock-out phase of the tournament depending on Sweden’s result. Both sides are tied on 3 points, 2 goals for, 2 goals against. Germany have 4 yellow cards while the Swedes have 3 heading into the final round of games. The Fair Play table will be used as a decider if all other stats are equal.
A 2-0 win would be enough to take South Korea through at Germany’s expense providing Sweden don’t take any points off Mexico.
Ozil is expected to return to the starting lineup for today’s game.