Published: Wed, July 11, 2018
Sports | By Brooke Harris

Explain yourself! German FA president demands answers from Arsenal ace Ozil

Explain yourself! German FA president demands answers from Arsenal ace Ozil

Germany midfielder Mesut Ozil's father has said that his son should stop playing for the German national team for statements by the country's football hierarchy that he felt were making "the scapegoat" out of him for the team's early exit from the 2018 World Cup.

The Arsenal playmaker has been targeted for criticism in the aftermath of the 2014 champions' premature exit from the ongoing World Cup and as a outcome, his future on the global scene has been called into question.

Ozil and team-mate Ilkay Gundogan came under fire before the World Cup after being pictured meeting the controversial Turkish president Recept Tayyip Erdogan.

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On Thursday, team boss Oliver Bierhoff suggested that perhaps Germany should have considered dropping Ozil, who has Turkish roots, after his failure to explain himself over the issue.

'If I were in his place, I would say: "Thank you, but that's enough,"' Ozil senior toldBild am Sonntag. In Mesut's place, I would step down. "In my opinion, it is aimed at saving one's own skin", he said according to AFP.

Özil scored in Germany's pre-tournament friendly against Austria but was booed by fans in the 2-1 defeat, along with Ilkay Gundogan. And once again, the scapegoat that drew all the criticism was midfielder Mesut Ozil.

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"Until now we never had to force national team players to do something but always tried to convince them of something", Bierhoff said in an interview with Die Welt newspaper on Friday. His ineffective performances in the first two group matches of Germany saw him benched in the final group game, which eventually turned out to be their last match in the ongoing world cup. "He's booed and put up as a scapegoat - I completely understand that he is offended", he added. "But that's just my very personal opinion", he said.

It has since been confirmed that Joachim Löw will remain in charge of the German national team, despite their disappointing performance in Russian Federation.

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