World Cup: Lost, lonely and a liability

World Cup: Lost, lonely and a liability



(Thomas Mueller 66, Andre Schuerrle 71)


(Samuel Eto'o 62, Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting 78)

Mesut Oezil was not awful against Cameroon. He was anonymous.

At the very least, a blooper's reel suggests a level of commitment. Mistakes mean a player has been involved. But where they should have been a sense of inclusiveness yesterday morning (Singapore time), there was only indifference.

The German playmaker was an outsider from kick-off until his inevitable substitution.

Coach Joachim Loew wasn't resting his star in the World Cup warm-up in Monchengladbach. He was putting him out of his misery.

When the stadium announcer unwisely referenced Oezil, boos echoed around the stadium. Less than two weeks before Germany's critical Group G opener against Portugal, this was hardly a ringing endorsement.

The madcap, error-strewn 2-2 draw is not uncommon of friendlies on the eve of a major tournament, when packs are shuffled in a final effort to pull out any unwanted jokers.

Based on this showing, Oezil looked the likeliest court jester. But his performance left no one laughing in the Germany camp. After the game, Loew was adamant that his prized asset will be polished in time for the Brazilian spotlight, making the salient point about the foolhardiness of peaking too soon.

Roy Hodgson has been saying much the same on Wayne Rooney's lackadaisical efforts.

By that rationale, Oezil will explode all over the World Cup. He held everything back against the Indomitable Lions, who lived up to their nickname with some feisty challenges that were anything but friendly.

At the heart of midfield, Sami Khedira and Toni Kroos were often targeted, but they continued to present themselves, mostly comfortable in possession. They ran. Oezil hid.

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