As every Arsenal fan knows it is the Germany international star Mesut Ozil who is the undisputed champion of the assist, and not just at Arsenal because his 19 in the Premier League was the most of any player from Europe’s top leagues. Germany will be hoping that the Gunner is in a similar sort of mood for his country today as England found out to their cost that Slovakia can be extremely hard to break down.
The host nation France and their two Arsenal players Olivier Giroud and Laurent Koscielny were finding the Republic of Ireland an equally tough nut to crack in the first match today and after Robbie Brady concerted the penalty given away by Paul Pogba in the second minute Les Bleus were heading out.
The Arsenal forward, though, played a key role in keeping them in the tournament. He had cut a fairly frustrated figure for most of the match and was having very little impact, which was not all his fault as he was feeding on scraps from his team mates efforts.
Soon after Griezmann had headed France level, however, Giroud did make an impact and it was a very good one. A brilliant leap and the vision and ability to head a lofted ball into the path of an onrushing Griezmann led to the second and another great bit of link up play from the big man soon after led to the sending off of Duffy which effectively ended the game.
Koscielny had a tough day against the pace and power of the Irish forwards but he did alright. I expect both to start again in France’s next match which could well be against England. Now let’s see if Ozil can inspire Germany to beat Slovakia.