Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has revealed on Eurosport the player that has impressed him most so far during this thrilling World Cup – Germany forward Thomas Muller.
The Bayern Munich man scored an impressive hat-trick in Germany’s opening Group G match which saw them thump Portugal by four goals to nil. The 24-year-old looked incredibly sharp throughout the game and reaped the rewards for his determined, clinical performance.
Mats Hummels got the other goal in what was a relatively comfortable opener for Germany, with Pepe seeing red in the 37th minute for a trademark moment of stupidity, although Joachim Low’s side were already two goals to the good by that point.
Muller earned some criticism for the part he playing in Pepe’s sending off after he made the most of a coming together with the Real Madrid defender – who has a reputation for hot-headedness – and he showed his displeasure at Muller’s theatrics by head-butting him as he sat on the ground.
During this tournament we have seen an incredible 78 goals and only thee goalless draws. It is on course to be the highest scoring World Cup in history and we are only nine days into the competition.
Two European teams have caught the eye and proven to be the most devastating in attack – the Netherlands and Germany – although Chile have also mightily impressed in their two victories against Australia and Spain, but it is the Germans that have most impressed Wenger.
He said: “The team that have impressed me most is Germany. They have got a great technical balance with players such as Thomas Muller and Mesut Ozil, who can make the difference at any time. They also have Mario Goetze and they have a huge ambition to win.
“For me Muller has been the most impressive player of the tournament – he has great physical qualities. He is a fighter and is very clever with his movement. He has improved his adaptability greatly. He could be the player of the tournament.”
The four-goal victory margin over Portugal on Monday means the three-time winners Germany will be almost guaranteed of topping their group should they prevail against Ghana on Saturday, providing USA do not win their two remaining matches.
Wenger has an obvious affection for the country's talent thanks to his work with players such as Per Mertesacker, Lukas Podolski, Mesut Ozil and Serge Gnabry, and he will be hoping that his players can show the world what they are capable of in the weeks to come.
The 64-year-old Frenchman also insisted that the host nation, Brazil, will be relying heavily on their two full-backs to play well if they are to go far in the tournament as he believes that is the area in the past where the South American outfit have been the strongest.
“Brazil's chances are linked to the quality of their full-backs. Before Cafu and Roberto Carlos they had Jorginho and Leonardo; while today they have Dani Alves and Marcelo,” he stated.
“For Brazil their historical success has been linked to the ‘efficiency’ of those full-backs. Alves and Marcelo have a big responsibility to contribute to Brazil’s success going forward.”
In Brazil's final group game on Monday they will face Cameroon, who are already out of the competition, knowing that a win should see them top their group and in theory get an 'easier' fixture in the second round.
The hosts have not been particularly impressive in their opening two matches, though, but they will want to put on a good show for their fans against an inferior Cameroon side.
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