Mandzukic: Song hit me on purpose

The 28-year-old says the elbow to his back during Croatia’s 4-0 win over Cameroon was deliberate, and also refused to talk about his future at Bayern Munich

Croatia striker Mario Mandzukic has accused Cameroon defender Alex Song of deliberately elbowing him in the back during the 4-0 rout in Manaus on Wednesday.

The incident happened as Cameroon trailed by a goal and resulted in the Barcelona player receiving a straight red card near the end of the first half.

Although Song apologised for lashing out at the Bayern Munich forward, Mandzukic is insistent he went after him on purpose.

“The action was strange. Both of us were running and suddenly I felt a blow. I think that it was clearly on purpose,” Mandzukic told German TV station, ZDF.

The 28-year-old – who scored two second-half goals in the win – recently revealed that he would be departing his club side Bayern as a result of not being able to adapt to Pep Guardiola’s tactics last season.

Despite being linked to a host of clubs since confirming his departure from the German champions, Mandzukic has now refused to speak about his future and says he is only focusing on doing well with Croatia in Brazil.

“Now is not the time to think about those things. I’m focused on the World Cup and my team,” he said.

Mandzukic will next be in action when Croatia take on Mexico on June 23 in Recife. 

Neuer warns Germany against complaceny

The goalkeeper described the team’s 4-0 thrashing of Portugal as far from perfect and insists Germany need to remain focused to secure a victory against the Africans

Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has warned his side that they must not get complacent after their 4-0 thrashing of Portugal – insisting that they must analyse the win honestly.

Joachim Low’s side outclassed the Seleccao in their Group G encounter in Salvador last week with Portugal reduced to 10-men after Pepe was sent off for his first half headbutt on hat-trick hero Thomas Muller.

The big win was reminiscent of the World Cup four years ago when Germany demolished Australia in their first game before being stunned after losing 1-0 to Serbia in their second match in the competition.

And Neuer has warned his team-mates that they need to remain fully focused if they want to avoid a shock result against Ghana when the two sides meet in Fortaleza on Saturday.

“I think that we can only be partially satisfied with how we played,” Neuer told the German Football Association’s website.

“In assessing this game, we have to be honest: we got a penalty, they got a red card – basically everything went our way in this game.

“In the second half we controlled things with a man advantage but we have to realise that the opponent had opportunities. It wasn’t all perfect.”

Germany defender Per Mertesacker is set to feature in the match against Ghana – his 100th game for his country.

The Arsenal centre-back knows all too well how tough the African side can be after playing in Germany’s narrow victory against Ghana in 2010.

“It (the game) was on a knife edge the entire time,” he said.

“But then we were saved thanks to Mesut Ozil’s goal.”

Mourinho: Muller hasn't been tested yet

The Chelsea coach revealed his admiration for the Germany forward but stressed that he will need to prove himself against more robust defences than Portugal’s in the tournament

Jose Mourinho says he would like to see Thomas Muller tested more rigorously than he was in Germany’s 4-0 win over Portugal on Monday.

The Bayern Munich attacker scored a hat-trick and Mats Hummels added another as Joachim Low’s side secured a comfortable victory in their Group G opener after Pepe was sent off following an altercation with Muller.

The striker was top-scorer in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and his three against the Selecao took him to eight goals in seven World Cup finals appearances – though Mourinho suggested he found it too easy in Salvador.

“I would like to see Muller up against a compact defence,” the 51-year-old told Yahoo Eurosport.

“That would test him. Portugal were far too weak. There are plenty of teams at this World Cup who defend far better, are much tighter and better organised.”

Mourinho did, however, take the time to praise Muller, who scored 13 times in the Bundesliga last season, for his ability in front of goal whilst stressing that his national side were lacking in that part of the pitch.

“He’s incredibly dynamic and has a unique goalscoring instinct,” he continued.

“He finds room on the field that nobody else knows about. But I still think that, even with Muller, Germany don’t have a real forward in their team.”

Germany play Ghana on Saturday in their next Group G game.

Neuer brushes off injury concerns

The Germany goalkeeper insists that treatment he is receiving for a shoulder complaint is precautionary and called on his side to keep their momentum after hammering Portugal 4-0

Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer says the treatment he is having for a shoulder injury is no reason for concern.

Neuer kept a clean sheet as Joachim Low’s side began their World Cup campaign with a stunning 4-0 win over Portugal last week.

The 28-year-old had been an injury doubt ahead of the game, yet came through unscathed and is now looking ahead to Saturday’s clash with Ghana.

“For me it [the injury] was not a big issue,” he told the DFB’s official website. “I knew always that I would come back in time.  

“It’s quite normal that I am still being treated. I can do all the things I need for my game without problems. The treatment is more or less cosmetic; it’s no big deal.”

Germany’s comprehensive win has reinforced their position as one of the tournament’s favourites, but Neuer is keen to guard against complacency.

“We all know that we cannot let up. Against Portugal, not everything was perfect; we know that,” he added.

“I’ve always said that we start with the first final and will hopefully play a total of seven finals.

“Against Ghana, we face a second final. Compared to the game against Portugal, we have to try to be a bit tighter.”

Gotze: Germany must be more clinical

Despite their 4-0 thrashing of Portugal in their World Cup opener, the 22-year-old has warned his team-mates that they have to take their chances if they are to succeed in Brazil

Germany forward Mario Gotze says his side must be more clinical in games, despite a comprehensive 4-0 victory over Portugal in their first match in World Cup Group G.

The 22-year-old’s Bayern Munich team-mate Thomas Muller grabbed a hat-trick as Joachim Low’s side got off to the perfect start in Brazil after Portugal defender Pepe was dismissed shortly before the break.

But Gotze says Germany may not be able to afford to miss the sort of chances they wasted during the demolition of Cristiano Ronaldo’s side in Salvador.

“We could in some situations have got more goals against Portugal,” he told Kicker.

“The result was pretty good, but in the first half we got a penalty and the red card played into our hands.”

Die Mannschaft continue their World Cup campaign against Ghana in Fortaleza on Saturday, with a win in that fixture all but securing their place in the round of 16, and Gotze says he is desperate to get off the mark.

“I had one good chance to score a goal [against Portugal]. I want to do that against Ghana now.

“It will not be easy, because the Ghanaians are under pressure and need to win… It is already a playoff for them and we want the three points.”

Defeat for Ghana would see the Black Stars knocked out of the tournament.