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Watch the FIFA World Cup
Video Rating: 4 / 5
Germany manager Joachim Loew has stated that Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil is not guaranteed a place in the national team squad for the World Cup 2014. His comments come at a time when the £ 42 million signing has been struggling for form. He has been continuously playing since the start of the season and physical energy appears to have been deprived of him in recent weeks. Ozil was left out of the recent matches by manager Arsene Wenger after exceptionally poor performances in high-profile matches like that of against Liverpool. The 24-year-old was responsible for two of the five goals scored by Liverpool.
He was recently substituted at half-time in the Champions League match against Bayern Munich. It was one of the ignominious exits from the German considering that Arsenal are still chasing for the goals that would put them into the quarter-finals. Germany are extremely strong in the midfield with several players threatening to break through into the first-team. Hence, Loew says that Ozil’s form should improve very soon otherwise he would miss out on the plane to Brazil 2014. Germany legend Lothar Matthaus recently stated that Ozil should be dropped in favour of Bayern Munich’s Toni Kroos, who has been in impressive form since the arrival of Guardiola to the club.
“We need the best players currently available at the World Cup, and not theoretically the best. I’ve told the players: The clock is ticking. And only ones who hear it will have a fighting chance. This is an appeal to all and a wake up call to many to work on their training, their routine, and their professionalism as now is the optimal time [to work on those things] before the tournament,” said Loew. “If Ozil is at his best, he can help, but the recent performances have raised doubts,” said Matthaus.
Video Rating: 3 / 5
Pundits are the opinion that the United States will not progress to the knockout stages of the World Cup 2014, since they are in a very tough group containing the likes of Germany and Portugal. This is often billed as the group of death, but the US manager Jurgen Klinsmann says that he is confident of beating either Germany or Portugal to the final knockout stage qualification spots. Ghana, as the other opponents in the group, are also considered as one of the strong teams after having done exceedingly well in recent African tournaments.
Klinsmann says that the US have proved themselves over a tough qualifying group. Hence, it does not think Germany and Portugal are going to be any better in this regard. Klinsmann has a great record of achieving well in major tournaments. He led the German national team to clinch a semifinal spot in the 2006 World Cup. The former Tottenham midfielder has also dismissed suggestions that the US players are at a disadvantage since they have to travel huge distances.
According to him, all the players are well taken care of with chartered flights and other amenities. He says tiredness also should not be an excuse for such professionals, who earn huge amounts of money.
“Our team has matured a lot over the last couple of years and we are going to give them a big, big fight. We are expecting to go to the knockout stage, that means Germany, Portugal and Ghana will have to fight it out for the other spot (from Group G). We’ve come through a tough qualifying process where we proved our capability. We have a lot of good players. We are going to have the biggest fan group ever from the US going to Brazil,” said Klinsmann in a pre-World Cup workshop.
Video Rating: 5 / 5
Even though striker Olivier Giroud has been scoring a lot of goals for Arsenal this season, it has been largely due to the strength of the midfielder that the club has been able to maintain their position at the top throughout this campaign. The likes of Santi Cazorla, Mesut Ozil, Jack Wilshere, and Tomas Rosicky may all play in the centre of the park, but the fact that they interchange so well makes them formidable. This is the opinion of Cazorla, who was signed from Malaga for just over £ 10 million. There has been a clear shift in the Arsenal consistency stakes.
Unlike in the past, they are not playing with traditional wingers, as the likes of Cazorla and Rosicky have played these positions. Even though it is not natural for them, they have managed to combine well due to the quality of the players surrounding them. The 29-year-old Spaniard has three goals in 16 matches in the league, but he has largely been used as a winger. Aaron Ramsey has been their best player in midfield when it comes to goals, as he has 8 in the league. Arsenal were not expected to sustain their title challenge beyond Christmas, but they have been remarkably consistent this season.
“Ultimately it’s easy to connect with guys like Wilshere, Rosicky, Mesut and all the players who play in the centre of the park. Plus I think that our style of play is ideal for me, Rosicky and Mesut as we’re players who enjoy linking up in tight spaces. We’re all different [though]. For example, Jack is a very strong player who grabs the team by the scruff of the neck, which is impressive for a player of his age,” said Cazorla.
This is the first season in Arsenal decided to spend big on an established player .