Tag Archives: Mesut Ozil
As we have alluded to on this blog before, Germany – a country of approximately 82 million people which exports nearly as much to world markets as the People’s Republic of China – is a place which takes education very seriously indeed. This is, after all, a nation where one of the most promising politicians in the land can find his career in tatters over alleged plagiarism in his PhD, and where a young sportsman of immense promise may be suspended for attaining poor results in the classroom.
The EU’s economic powerhouse does not, however, have a global reputation for flair, a state of affairs which has perhaps been most strikingly articulated in modern times through the respective football teams of both West Germany and Germany: both countries have engendered national sides of immense efficiency and success – three World Cups (1954, 1974, 1990) and three European Nations Cups (1972, 1980, 1996) tell their own story – which have nevertheless generally failed to win many hearts and minds.
However, the 2010 FIFA World Cup showcased a new generation of Germans – many of whom possess roots in the country’s various immigrant communities – which is rapidly redefining orthodox perceptions of Germany. Players of the ilk of magical playmaker Mesut Ozil and box-to-box dynamo Sami Khedira marry undeniable quality and intelligence – both transferred to Real Madrid following peerless displays in South Africa, Ozil subsequently dislodging no less an icon than Kaka from that club’s starting eleven – with improvisation, delicacy and panache.
Moreover, events this week at the 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Mexico further demonstrate that an even newer generation of German players is already attracting praise and admiration far beyond the borders of the Bundesrepublik. Tutored by the ultra-competitive Steffen Freund – who exemplified the virtues of graft in his own international career – a team which is essentially a German-Turkish mix has played stunning football in its opening two games, routing Ecuador 6-1 and African champions Burkina Faso 3-0. In particular, the attacking trio of midfield general and captain Emre Can, stocky second striker Levent Aycicek and the goal-addicted Samed Yesil have made observing Germany at these championships better than watching Brazil.