Mesut Özil: Birth of a Star

SOCCER/FUTBOL WORLD CUP 2010 ALEMANIA VS AUSTRALIA Action photo of Mesut Ozil of Germany (L) and Lucas Neill of Australia (R), during game of the World Cup 2010 South Africa at Durban, South Africa./Foto de accion de Mesut Ozil de Alemania y Lucas Neill de Australia (D), durante juego de la Copa del Mundo Sudafrica 2010 en Durban, Sudafrica. 13 June 2010 MEXSPORT/ETZEL ESPINOSA Photo via Newscom

When Germany lost Michael Ballack coming into this world cup, some commentators were writing them off, or at the very least not touting them as tournament favourites. Despite an excellent qualification campaign in a less than forgiving group Germany emerged without a loss and played with a freedom that went unnoticed. That is until Sunday night.

In their demolition of a very average Australia, Germany drew the spotlight and showed to the world why they should continue to be feared. A young team, only one player was over 30 in the team that lined up against Australia. Germany showed signs of fragility in defence but the young goalkeeper Neuer was equal to anything the Australians tried. After the sending off of Tim Cahill the match ended as a contest but continued as an exhibition of fine football from a young team. The shining star of the night was Mesut Özil.

Özil was the fulcrum of Germany’s team, his creativity has been unmatched in the tournament so far whilst his intelligent running created many opportunities. Those who knew German football (such as The Guardian’s Raphael Honigstein) had tipped Özil to be a force during this tournament. Still only 21, Özil has been playing elite football for a few years. Having been given his start at Schalke Özil proved a useful attacking midfielder, goals were not forthcoming during his 30 games for the club but he attracted the attention of other teams and moved to Werder Bremen in 2008. It was at Bremen that his career took off. Starting regularly for the team Ozil was a threat in most games and was not intimidated on the bigger occasions. He scored the winning goal in the German Cup final and in the summer that followed was the key player in Germany’s Under-21 championship winning team. He was soon called up to the national team but played second fiddle to Michael Ballack who played in the space between midfield and attack. The loss of Michael Ballack was a blow to Germany but it allowed Ozil to play in his best position rather than out on the left where he has to be more disciplined in his movement and distribution.

The game against Australia was an exceptional game but it will be the next few group games that will determine the extent of Özil’s ability. The defenders of Serbia and Ghana will now pay him particular attention and after his shameful diving so will the referee’s. Özil has shown class in European competition already and with the improved quality of players around him he cannot fall back on Sunday’s performance.

As a football writer it was good to get a positive performance to write about and not just the gaffes of Green, Cahill and Kuzmanovic. Özil’s man of the match performance was the highlight of the tournament so far and whilst he has been a household name in Germany for the last few seasons, it was not until Sunday night however that he became a global star.

17 thoughts on “Mesut Özil: Birth of a Star”

  1. I picked Mesut Ozil as one of the players to watch in this World Cup. He is very talented and clever on the ball. I think the absence of Ballack might actually help a player like Ozil since he and the others in the German midfield will have to make up for Ballack’s absence.

  2. While I tend to agree that Ballack’s absence may prove to be a blessing in disguise (at least against weak opponents) Ballack’s presence never reduced Özil’s role. To the contrary, even with Ballack on the field Özil was given extensive freedom playing in the center (not the left wing) since he first started in the friendly against South Africa last September.

  3. The fact is that the tournament was quite boring up until this point. The Germans put on a technical display of soccer that we just haven’t seen thus far. It was great to see a team play well, play crisply, play creatively, and play together. Hopefully the Germans continue to play like this and don’t disappoint. It will make the tournament far more interesting.

  4. Ozil and Nani were two players I was most looking foward watching in the World Cup because I had a feeling they were going to have breakout tournaments. Unfortunately Nani got hurt but Ozil has not disappointed so far. This kid is the real deal and I love watching him play.

  5. I had him on my world cup fantasy league. Damn, this kid is good! Please do not join Chelsea, just think of Sean wright philips before joining them. Manchester shitty, Manchester united or Arsenal wouldn’t be bad picks as they need AMF

  6. Oezil, thanks for that u made the goal for the german team. I heard that this is the first goal for u but for me , u save the german team. I hope, ur team will be got so many goals in the future….

    1. Sorry for that german team loss the world cup. But, german should be deserved for that , cause all the team players were playing without encourage. I mean German Vs Spain. I am really upset that they broke their chance with their own mind…..

  7. I love Oezil very much. He is the only player I want to watch. His talent will be shining in the future

  8. He is a great player .It’s very good ,the ball is stick in his foot just like Messi.I think that in the future he will be a great player.When germany play i Watch only buuuuuuut onlyyyyyyy Mesut Ozil.

  9. ozil should join man u & see his carrier grow rather than be a superstar as beckam,rud,ronaldo, if he doent perform he is not given achance rather he is sold.

  10. tavalodet mobarak mesut.happy birth verry happy for you.when you went to real i was happy very much.i see you in the match and i say to my friend that see you in the very excited that see you.ooooh you know what im very love you.i always that pray i wish that see you from near. by the way im muslem and i very happy that you are muslem too.

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