Mesut Özil's excellent performance earned him the Carlsberg Man of the Match award as Germany edged past Portugal to claim maximum points in their Group B opener.
The Real Madrid CF midfielder produced an industrious display coupled with his usual composure on the ball and received high praise from former Denmark midfielder Allan Simonsen, who handed over the award in the post-match ceremony. "He's technically perfect, works hard and always looks for the right pass for his team-mates," said Simonsen. "He played very, very well."
However, although delighted at the recognition, a modest Özil was keen to stress the importance of the team performance over individual accolades. "I have won something like this for the first time and am very happy about it," he said. "The main thing is the team played well and we deserved to win. As a team, we really gave everything and are very happy about it."
A tight affair was settled by Mario Gomez's 72nd-minute header and the 23-year-old said there was room for improvement after Germany's UEFA EURO 2012 curtain-raiser. "I didn't play my best, I know I can play much better," said Özil, who covered 10,371 metres in his 87 minutes on the pitch. "I am happy about the award but the main thing is that we won the first game. We're concentrating on the next match now and we hope we'll be as successful as today.
"The main thing in the first game is that you play well and limit the mistakes. Portugal played very well, they're a strong team with a lot of quality, and they made life difficult for us. We're very satisfied to win 1-0 but we know we can get better in the coming games. The main thing is the three points."
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