Arsenal star Mesut Ozil dreams of beating England in World Cup 2018 Final

Chris Hatherall
Evening Standard
Arsenal star Mesut Ozil dreams of beating England in World Cup 2018 Final
Arsenal star Mesut Ozil dreams of beating England in World Cup 2018 Final

Mesut Ozil's dream is to help Germany win back-to-back World Cups by beating England in the final in Moscow on July 15.

The first part of that dream is shared by the entire German squad, whose team picture ahead of the World Cup was printed underneath the motto ‘The Best Never Rest’.

One of Ozil’s most recent tweets also read “the goal is to defend what is ours”, leaving opponents in no doubt about the intentions of the holders, who open their campaign against Mexico on Sunday. But they are already looking ahead to the climax of the tournament in a month’s time, when they hope to deny England their first title on foreign soil.

Ozil said: “We are the current world champions. We have to try to repeat that — to get to the final and to fight for everything. That’s what German fans demand of us. But, personally, my dream is to play England in the final — and beat them without even the need for extra time.”

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Perhaps it is just the fact he has played so long for Arsenal that makes Ozil crave a ‘derby’ in Moscow but the Germany-England football rivalry has deep roots. Other than 1966 and the remarkable 5-1 win in a World Cup qualifier in Munich in 2001, there have not been too many times when England have been doing the gloating.

Most famously, they lost a penalty shoot-out to Germany in the semi-finals of Italia ’90 and were beaten again, in the same fashion and at the same stage, at Euro ’96.

But Ozil will not be underestimating Gareth Southgate’s side, even though his dream scenario still seems pretty unlikely to England fans, who are hoping, rather than expecting.

“The way I see it, England are there,” said Ozil. “They reached this World Cup with fewer problems to qualify than most other teams and that has given them time to prepare. They are going to be in the final stages of this World Cup, that’s what I expect.

“They are one of the teams that can make it hard for us. We are the current world champions and repeating the world title would be a great milestone for Germany.

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“I see a lot of teams who will believe they can win. Brazil and Argentina, for a start, but I don’t rule out teams like England, Spain or Portugal. Everyone is training and preparing to go right to the end and there is always a team who spring a surprise and go further than you think. Perhaps this time it will be Belgium.”

The good news for Ozil is that Germany have been given a pretty comfortable start to their defence: drawn in Group F alongside Mexico, Sweden and South Korea, which is far from being a daunting prospect for an experienced team that have been together a long time under coach Joachim Low.

“I don’t think like that,” insisted Ozil. “All groups have their risk. This is not a comfortable group at all and our challenge is to win the group and make a statement from the start.

“The fact that you are champions doesn’t mean anything once you arrive because each World Cup is very different. We won in Brazil four years ago but this is a different competition with different teams and a lot of players who can cause you a lot of headaches.

“It’s true that a lot of us have experience, we have done it before, and that is helpful. But you still have to score goals and you still have to win matches.”

Germany’s record in the World Cup is something England can only dream of. They have won the trophy four times and finished runners-up on four other occasions.

“People always want to know the secret,” admitted Ozil. “I think it’s the level of play in the Bundesliga, the contribution of players from clubs abroad and the fact we never give a game up as lost. That’s our greatest virtue — and we’ll need it here, too.”

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