Germany gem Ozil emerges as contender for Golden Ball
Their talisman Michael Ballack may be missing with injury, but Germany have unearthed a new star in the form of midfield dynamo Mezut Ozil.
The architect of Germany’s breathtaking 4-0 dismissal of Australia, Ozil dictated proceedings with a confidence and maturity beyond his 21 years, and at 25/1 he is a very strong contender to be named player of the tournament.
Germany went some way to shattering tiresome stereotypes of boring German efficiency with an enterprising performance, driven by the verve and flair of a midfield spearheaded by Ozil.
An incisive distributor and a threatening runner from deep, Ozil seems equipped with the necessary weaponry to unlock even the tightest of defences.
Currently contracted to Werder Bremen, Ozil is expected to be the subject of a bidding war between Europe’s top clubs this summer.
And should the livewire midfielder of Turkish descent continue his sparkling form, Werder will need to brace themselves for some very lucrative offers.
Germany’s 4-0 win was the first game of this World Cup to feature more than two goals, and if a general dearth of excitement continues, Ozil’s creativity could be a rare and cherished highlight.
Germany could meet England in the second round – or even the final – and Fabio Capello may well have taken note of Ozil’s irrepressible performance against Australia.
The Werder playmaker possesses all the guile and nous that was so glaringly lacking in England’s draw with the USA, and he could prove too hot to handle for Frank Lampard or Gareth Barry.
Oliver Kahn was the last German to win the Golden Ball, for his goalkeeping heroics during the 2002 World Cup, but if Germany are to progress to the final again this year, it could be the creative Ozil who wins the world’s acclaim.