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Germany legend slams Mesut Ozil after World Cup misery

Former Germany forward Oliver Bierhoff claims Mesut Ozil’s controversial meeting with Turkey president before the World Cup distracted the German camp and could have been a factor in their group-stage elimination.

The World Cup holders suffered a shock exit at the group stage, finishing last in their group with two losses and a single victory. And Bierhoff, who is the German’s national team public relations manager believes the Arsenal midfielder should have been left out of their squad for the World Cup.

Just before the tournament kicked off, Ozil appeared alongside Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and posed for photographs with City star Ilkay Gundogan, sparking huge controversy.

Gundogan since apologised for the incident, but Ozil kept quiet over the controversy.

And Bierhoff believes that Ozil’s decision not to speak publicly about the incident distracted the team.

“We never forced any player of the national team to do something, but we always tried to convince them,” he told Welt.

“We haven’t succeeded with Mesut. That’s why we could have thought about leaving him out from a sporting point of view.

“I think the fact that Mesut and Ilkay took these pictures did not keep the team busy. But the debate afterwards did. Looking back now, I would try to be clearer regarding this topic.

“What has contributed to a 14-year success story must not be ignored, but it is clear that we have to put everything to the test, both in terms of personnel and structure.

“This includes the composition of the squad as well as the internal processes. There must be cuts at all levels, we did not present ourselves as a team in Russia, that’s something that hurts me a lot.”

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