Bierhoff admits mistake over picking Ozil

Updated July 07, 2018

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BERLIN: In the wake of their shock World Cup exit, Germany team boss Oliver Bierhoff has said Mesut Ozil should have been dropped over a pre-tournament scandal involving Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Ozil, 29, is one of a group of senior players slammed for woeful performances in Russia as Germany finished bottom of their group to suffer a shock early exit.

At the World Cup, the Arsenal midfielder refused to comment about a controversial meeting on the eve of the finals with Erdogan which sparked questions about his loyalty to Germany.

Bierhoff admits it was a mistake to allow Ozil to stay silent as the controversy cast a shadow over the German camp.

“We have never compelled players in the German national team to do something, but always tried to convince them when it comes to certain things,” Bierhoff, Germany’s team director, told Friday’s edition of Die Welt newspaper. “We did not succeed with Mesut. And in that respect one would have had to consider whether to refrain from playing him.”

Bierhoff says he and head coach Joachim Loew should have seriously considered leaving Ozil out of the final squad for Russia.

Bierhoff says Ozil’s silence was an issue “especially as we did not present ourselves as a team — the energy that always made us strong was not there”.

Ozil, who has made 92 appearances for Germany, could be one of a number of 2014 World Cup winners who have played their last international.

Published in Dawn, July 07th, 2018