If Mesut Özil felt his first Carlsberg Man of the Match Award at UEFA EURO 2012 was barely merited, he was happier about accepting his second such prize of the tournament after an excellent display in Germany's impressive 4-2 victory over Greece.
The playmaker was one of the shining lights in a purposeful display by Germany, playing a part in some of their slickest passing moves as well as claiming two assists – for Philipp Lahm's opening strike and Miroslav Klose's headed third.
Germany coach Joachim Löw had predicted that Özil was ready to step up a level and so it proved as the player himself admitted afterwards. "My first game was not that great but today I think I played very well, the team supported me so I could show my potential," he said. "I did that very well although it was not just me but the whole team that did that."
Christian Karembeu, the former France midfielder and UEFA EURO 2000 winner, presented the award to the Real Madrid CF player and said he had not hesitated to select Özil as the recipient. "It was very easy as he shone today with everything he did. He is a playmaker and every time he touched the ball he created opportunities."
Löw also lent his voice to the chorus of praise when he said: "He completely deserved the award, he was always there – when we were on the attack, he was always in the game, always available, always on the move. He did a lot. He made the connection between the players at the back and the attackers, everything went through him."
Özil added that the Germany squad had received a visit from Chancellor Angela Merkel after the match – "she congratulated us on how well we played" – and went on to underline their focus on booking a place in the final when they face England or Italy in Thursday's semi-final in Warsaw.
"It doesn't really matter if we play England or Italy, we want to get through to the final," he said. "We want to take the next step and we'll give everything to achieve that."
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