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England news

Pantsil: England can deal with Ozil

June 27, 2010
By Tom Adams

Ghana defender John Pantsil has told Soccernet that if England want to neutralise the threat of Mesut Ozil they need only to man-mark him, and that the Germany playmaker "doesn't actually do anything", despite his growing reputation.

John Pantsil is a key player for Ghana
OtherJohn Pantsil is a key player for Ghana

• Top Five: England v Germany

Ozil emerged as one of the stars of the World Cup group stage thanks to a sparkling performance in a 4-0 win over Australia and his decisive goal in a 1-0 win over Ghana. That victory secured top spot in Group D and a much-hyped meeting with England in the second round on Sunday.

Former West Germany international Horst Hrubesch even described Ozil as Germany's "own [Lionel] Messi" following his impressive goal against Ghana, but Pantsil, who plays his club football in England for Fulham, is clearly less enamoured with the 21-year-old.

Pantsil believes Ozil's work-rate is poor in comparison to his German team-mates and that deploying holding midfielder Gareth Barry to shadow him will blunt Germany's key creative influence.

"The way he played [against Ghana], I don't think it is good," Pantsil told Soccernet. "I don't think it is good. From my point of view, if you stand someone on him for the 90 minutes I don't think he can play. Because he doesn't actually do anything, he just stands on the line, like he did in the last game against Ghana.

"He scored the goal because he got enough time. He doesn't fight like the way his colleagues play. I think that is not football if you cannot fight. If you compare the game they played against Ghana, he was by the left line and waited for the ball to come, then he would start playing, I don't think that is football.

"I think England have to ask Gareth Barry to stand on him. Because if one player stands on him I don't think he will be part of the game. He will be off."

Drawing Germany has special resonance for the English nation given the number of dramatic encounters there have been between the two countries in both the World Cup and European Championship. But England's record against their rivals is poor, particularly in penalty shoot-outs.

Despite the fact that the weight of history is against England, Pantsil believes Fabio Capello's side have a good chance of progressing to the quarter-finals if they can play as a cohesive unit.

"What I can say is that the Germans play football," Pantsil said. "They play good football and they pass the ball around. The players have to keep their discipline and keep their position well, and also support each other on the pitch. I think if they do that they can overcome the Germans."

John is wearing the Africa Unity shirt, which is the third strip of Ghana, Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Algeria. Sales for the shirt raise money for biodiversity causes in Africa, see for more information.