Mesut Ozil says he has told Arsenal teammate Laurent Koscielny that Germany “are not Iceland” in a text message ahead of their Euro 2016 semifinal with France.
Germany take on France at Marseille’s Stade Velodrome on Thursday (9 p.m. CET/3 p.m. ET, ESPN) looking to book a place in Sunday’s final.
The match is set to see Ozil come up against Gunners teammates Koscielny and Olivier Giroud, and the Germany playmaker says the trio have been keeping in contact ahead of the clash.
Germany reached the last four with a penalty shootout win over Italy while France thrashed tournament debutants Iceland 5-2, and Ozil told kicker: “We are still teasing each other.
“After the quarterfinal I texted Koscielny to say that we are not Iceland. He replied that it will be big match in Marseille, for us and the fans. We are all looking forward to it.”
Ozil, 27, is the only Germany player to have started every one of the teams’ games in major tournaments dating back to the 2010 World Cup.
On Thursday, he is set to make his 25th consecutive start since the 4-0 win in Germany’s 2010 World Cup opener against Australia, and the former Real Madrid star is confident he can extend his streak to 26 games already on Sunday.
“Of course, France can bank on the home support but, comparing the potential of both teams, I believe that we can beat them,” Ozil said.
Germany will be without Mario Gomez and Sami Khedira through injury while Mats Hummels misses the France game through suspension, but Ozil added: “We still have a very good squad.
“I believe in us and don’t waste any thoughts on elimination. We are the world champions, we’ve gone all the way to a title before, we beat a big footballing nation like Italy, and finally got rid of the curse [of not beating Italy at a major tournament].”
Germany boss Joachim Low has used Ozil on the left of midfield at the 2014 World Cup, but he has been moved into his preferred central role this summer, rewarding the coach’s faith with his performances and his goal against Italy.
“I did not play the No. 10 position at the previous tournaments,” he said. “At this tournament I’m playing in my position. I feel free on the pitch — that’s the most important thing — and I appreciate the fact that the Bundestrainer [Low] puts trust in me.
“He tells me that I have every freedom on the pitch, that I should relish my role and just do my thing. And I want to thank him with goals, assists and good performances.”
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