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Jun 30, 2014

Mesut Ozil wants 'legendary' status

Joachim Low's flexible approach has seen Germany adapt to the opponents they have faced. Attacking against Portugal, more controlled against the USA, so how will they approach the challenge of Algeria?

Mesut Ozil believes anything other than winning the 2014 World Cup would be a major disappointment for Germany, and told his teammates they have the chance to become legends.

- Hesse: Algeria eye revenge
- Honigstein: Germany won't repeat mistakes of 1982

Joachim Low's side qualified for the round of 16 by winning Group G and are favourites to beat Algeria and progress to the quarterfinals.

But Ozil is confident that Germany can go much further than the last eight and is hoping to improve on semifinal defeats in the 2010 World Cup and the 2012 European Championships.

He told kicker: "If we focus our strength we will win it. After that, the sky is the limit. We can beat every team when we give it our best. We can become legends by winning the first World Cup title as the first European nation on South American soil.

"Everything else would be a disappointment for me. We got eliminated shortly before the finishing line in South Africa four years ago, that was bitter and I don't want to come short out on the short end again and wait for my chance for four more years."

After opening their 2014 World Cup campaign with a 4-0 rout of Portugal, Germany looked to have lost some momentum in the 2-2 draw with Ghana and 1-0 victory over the U.S.

But Ozil has defended their record of two wins and a draw and warned a similarly resilient performance may be required to get past Algeria.

He said: "We have not lost a match and we showed good elements. It can't always be like against Portugal. Every nation at the World Cup is strong. Just look at the U.S. Many think that they are not a footballing nation, but we were the only team to beat them."

"They will wait for the counters, just like the U.S.," Ozil added of Germany's next opponents. "A relatively small footballing nation like Algeria will of course want to prove themselves. They will give 200 percent, and try to make it as difficult as possible."

Low has already called on his squad to improve if they want to contend for the title and Ozil has backed his coach, saying: "I need to improve, just like the team."

Mats Hummels is another who sees room for improvement in the Germany ranks.

He told Bild: "We have not reached the optimum [performance level] but the foundation for a success is stability in defence and it seems like we've achieved that.

"If we now manage to attack more in a more direct, faster manner then we are a really, really strong side. We've done a solid job so far, but we have not been outstanding."

Lahm's renaissance as a central midfielder for Bayern is arguably problematic for this German squad.
Germany captain Philipp Lahm will play in midfield against Algeria.

Germany captain Philipp Lahm, who will play in holding midfield once again, also said that he is looking forward to the knockout stages.

"The World Cup is huge, and it's rare," Lahm told the DFB website. "We've made it past the group stage, and we are now entering the knockout phase.

"It's do-or-die. One bad day, and you are out. That makes these games so interesting. I can't think of anything better. I am really looking forward to Algeria and can't wait for kickoff.

Low was another to express his excitement at participating in the latter stages of the tournament, but stressed that hard work is the only way to make it through to the next round.

"Those games have a special magic," he told his prematch news conference. "There are no shortcuts. Concentration is the requirement of the hour."

During the group stage, Low saw positives and negatives in Germany's play, adding now "it's time to do our homework. We need to improve our match in the final third.

"This is a marathon not a 100 metre sprint."

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