Lukas Podolski has leapt to the defence of Germany and Arsenal teammate Mesut Ozil, insisting his best years are still to come.
- Honigstein: Things finally clicking for Germany
Ozil came in for criticism towards the end of last season with his form dipping for the Gunners, while he slowly appears to be losing his star-player status with Die Nationalmannschaft.
Germany coach Joachim Loew has already backed the 25-year-old to perform "like he always has done" at the World Cup in Brazil, and Podolski has no doubts about Ozil's worth for club and country either.
"Mesut is a world-class player,'' Podolski told a news conference. "Mesut has the quality and he's going to give us a lot of pleasure.
"He is going to produce the goods in the months and years to come and people have just got to accept him the way he is. Just let the lad play football.''
Ozil seems more likely than Podolski to start for Germany against Portugal on Monday.
However, Podolski could still benefit from the withdrawal of the injured Marco Reus from Loew's World Cup squad.
"Everybody has got to be on their toes and ready,'' Podolski said. "I'm preparing myself as if I will be playing, and if I don't, then at least I would still be ready.''
Loew had declared Monday's clash as "50/50," but Podolski has a touch more optimism than his coach.
"Of course they have Cristiano Ronaldo, who is capable of deciding any game, but if we play the way we can, then we will leave the field triumphant,'' he said.
"If we don't, then we've just got to hope that we manage to keep Ronaldo under control, or that he doesn't have a good day.
"My aim is to get my hands on the trophy in the end. I don't come to play for Germany just for the fun of it, and if anybody were to do that, then they would be better off just staying at home.''