Mesut Ozil has brushed aside any suggestions that Germany would be involved in another ‘biscotto’ affair and manufacture a convenient draw against the United States in Recife today.
The two countries would both progress to the last 16 with a point each, and to make matters more enticing for conspiracy theorists the two coaches are close friends and former colleagues.
Furthermore the USA team is coached by a German, Jurgen Klinsmann, and contains five German-American players, GI babies who are a legacy of the US army’s presence in the old West Germany.
Biscotto is an Italian word meaning ‘cookies’ which has become a term for games where both teams connive at obtaining a mutually-beneficial result. West Germany, infamously, beat Austria 1-0 at the 1982 World Cup in such a game which saw both teams qualify at the expense of Algeria.
For Arsenal playmaker Ozil and Germany coach Joachim Low, there is not even a temptation to settle for a draw against the USA.
Ozil said: “I believe that as a player we do not play for a draw. We play 90 minutes to score. Our purpose is to do our utmost to win, and that is what we will do. We want to finish top of the group.”
The infamous West Germany-Austria match will be 32 years ago to the day but Low dismissed its relevance.
He said: “Nowadays it does not mean anything to this squad. Most of the players had not been born then. They would not have an opinion about that, they never watched it.
“It is difficult to understand nowadays, we do not know how it happened. It is not a topic for Jurgen or myself, we go to the pitch to win, not for a draw. If you want a draw, it never works.”
Ozil said he was satisfied with his form in the win over Portugal and 2-2 draw with Ghana, but admitted he would prefer to be in the playmaker role rather than on the right of an attacking trio.
He added: “In terms of football I know I can still get better but I am happy with the two games, and I think the level of my football was very good. At the moment I still need to score but I am very happy with my performance.
“Everyone knows I am a playmaker, that is my favourite position, but the coach decides. Now I am playing on the right, and have I played there a lot on the right as well. I don’t have all the freedom I did but that is not an excuse. I know what I can do, but my favourite position is another one.”