Real Madrid CF may still be in the hunt for the Liga and UEFA Champions League but midfielder Mesut Özil already has his sights set on success with his country this summer.
Runners-up in Austria and Switzerland four years ago, Germany reached the semi-finals of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, ultimately finishing third – as in 2006 – and are without a major trophy for 16 years. Özil, though, has no doubt that drought can end at the Olympic Stadium in Kyiv on 1 July. "We were quite close before and hopefully it will work this time," he said. "Our goal is to get the title and I am convinced we can achieve that."
Such self-assuredness has often served Germany well in the high-pressured environment of a major tournament, but they will have their work cut out this time around. Before even contemplating reaching their almost customary place in the latter stages, they must negotiate a section including Denmark and the Netherlands. Group B also contains Portugal and, with coach José Mourinho, Pepe, Ricardo Carvalho, Fábio Coentrão and Cristiano Ronaldo among Özil's colleagues in Madrid, anticipation is already high in the Spanish capital.
"Of course we talked about it after the draw," said the midfielder. "They have a lot of respect for Germany, and there are a few jokes during training with the Portuguese colleagues. We tell them we will beat them, they say they will beat us, and so on. We're looking forward to this challenge; our goal is to be successful, and we will give everything for that." There is that confidence once more – the other 15 contenders at UEFA EURO 2012 have been warned.
View the video above for an in-depth interview with Özil.
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