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By ESPN Staff
Sep 6, 2009

Starlet Ozil shines to cement Germany place

Talented midfielder Mesut Ozil may have laid claim to a starting role in Germany's midfield with an impressive display in his team's 2-0 friendly win over South Africa on Saturday. After steering the under-21 team to European championship glory in June, Ozil helped set up Germany's opener for striker Mario Gomez before scoring the second in only his third full international.

The 20-year-old brought with him the kind of pace and creativity the national team has lacked for several years, feeding strikers with accurate passes while also proving to be a constant goal threat himself.

"I really wanted to step on the gas today and that is what I did," Ozil told reporters. "Everything worked out and it was important for the team to win."

The Werder Bremen playmaker, who has done well to fill the void left by Diego after the gifted Brazilian joined Juventus, looked a natural fit alongside captain Michael Ballack in the heart of midfield.

Early on, his well-struck free-kick was saved by South African keeper Rowan Fernandez before he sliced open their defence with Ballack, who found Gomez to score in the 35th minute.

Ozil kept up the pressure with some pin-point passes and long-range efforts before nabbing Germany's second with a cool finish 13 minute from time.

His performance could not be timed any better with Germany top of Group Four, a point ahead of Russia, in World Cup qualification.

They play Azerbaijan on Wednesday before completing their matches against Russia and Finland in the coming weeks.

"Mesut showed how creative he is, versatile and surprising. He has an eye for spotting players in good positions and has great potential," Germany coach Joachim Loew added.

"He is a man for the future."

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