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Euro 2016: Ozil criticized for poor performances



Germany midfielder Mesut Ozil says he does not care about outside criticism of his performances at the European Championship.

“It bounces off me,” the Arsenal playmaker said, after being one of many Germany players to be knocked for his performance against Poland in the team’s second game at Euro 2016.

World champions Germany were strongly criticised for their lack of attacking power in the 0-0 draw on Thursday, with even defender Jerome Boateng warning that the team needs to improve to avoid an early elimination.

And several former Germany players were highly critical of the performance, with Mehmet Scholl singling out Ozil. The midfielder turned pundit said on ARD that Ozil’s body language did not help the team.

But, in an interview with Bild, the Arsenal playmaker insisted he’s not interested in outside criticism.

“To be honest, I don’t care what others say,” Ozil said. “There will always be people who voice their opinion, mostly it’s negative. I don’t know if they have to say it or not. When a former player or whoever wants to make headlines, it just bounces off me.

“Like I said, the coach’s opinion matters: Mr Low tells me the truth.”

Scholl has not been the first to criticise Ozil for his body language, but the Germany midfielder reiterated that the statistics could vouch for him, saying: “How much we run, how many springs, you can ask the Bundestrainer [Low], I am always in the top five. The other thing is just personal, it’s aura. We are all in our own skin.”

Expectations for Ozil had been sky-high going into the tournament. Low had guaranteed him his place in central attacking midfield and praised his outstanding form. But, just like the rest of the German attack, he has so far failed to live up to expectations in the matches against Ukraine and Poland.

“I never wanted to prove anything, neither to me nor the people,” Ozil said. “It was always my goal to help the team. There’s a minority of fans and a few journalists who only measure me by how many goals I’ve scored or created. But a game lasts 90 minutes. And what I do there — the ground I cover, my passes, the chances I create — sometimes just does not interest. But to me it matters what the coach thinks of me.”

Although Ozil at Arsenal last term was the king of assists, he has yet to turn into a frequent goal scorer, but the 27-year-old says he will not change his style of play.

“I will never do that, and I don’t have to,” he said. “I’ve been very successful with it over the years, no matter where in this world I have played. Some say that I have to be more egoistic. But I am just the guy who passes the ball when’s someone’s in a better position.”

Former German international Michael Ballack had also been highly critical of Germany, and after the draw with Poland sparked a leader debate when the former Germany captain said the current team lacked “a bit of personality and character.”

Replying to Ballack, Germany midfielder Sami Khedira called the ongoing debate “comedy.”

“We’ve never had more leaders in German football than we have now,” Khedira said, citing Manuel Neuer, Jerome Boateng, Thomas Muller, Mats Hummels and Bastian Schweinsteiger as evidence. “And then there’s also yours truly, who has achieved a bit.

“That you start a leader debate with so many personalities who can and want to lead, is just comedy.”

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