Germany may have kicked off their 2014 World Cup campaign with a bang, but Mesut Ozil could only purr.
On Monday, Joachim Low’s side hammered a Cristiano Ronaldo-led Portugal 4-0 in their opening Group G clash at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador.
True, the three-time world champions were helped by Pepe’s dismissal in the first half, but no one can deny that they deserved to win the contest.
The star of the show for Germany was a certain Thomas Muller. The 24-year-old forward, who often found himself out of the starting line-up at Bayern Munich last season, scored a hat-trick.
On the other hand, Arsenal playmaker Ozil had a rather average game by his own high standards. The 25-year-old was not exactly bad and played a role in his team’s second goal, but he failed to really show his true colours.
|Total Scoring Att||Ontarget Scoring Att||Total Att Assist||Apps||Mins|
It did not come as a surprise to many Arsenal fans, who must have been frustrated with the former Real Madrid star’s form last season. Although Ozil started the 2013-14 campaign brilliantly, he began to fade away at the turn of the New Year and was inconsistent in the second half of the season.
True, Ozil did suffer with injuries and this was the first time in his career that he had played without a winter break, but there was still a lingering suspicion that he could have done better.
Ozil’s recent performances have sparked suggestions that he could be dropped by Low as the World Cup progresses, but the former Werder Bremen man has insisted that he is not worried about his place in the starting line-up.
‘That's their view’, he said of his critics in an interview with The Times of India. ‘What I know for certain is I have the confidence of our coach. So far, he's been satisfied with me and that gives me immense pleasure, to be able to earn the faith of the coach’.
Germany do not exactly lack quality in midfield and Ozil is under pressure to raise his game. The 2002 World Cup finalists are likely to progress to the round of 16 as Group G winners, but Low could be forced to re-evaluate the situation with Ozil if his form does not improve.