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Showdown with USA

Müller: We’ll use the ball and our brains

Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Mike Tyson, Wladimir Klitschko - Thomas Müller? The FC Bayern star probably does not quite fit on the roster of world-class boxers despite the cut above the right eye he picked up in the closing stages of Germany’s 2-2 draw with Ghana. “I'm fine even if I look like a boxer,” declared the joker on Twitter before returning to his favourite sport.

Müller can hardly wait for the next mission with his national team. The battle for top spot with the USA, led by coach Jürgen Klinsmann, takes place on Thursday (6 pm CET) in Recife. Joachim Löw's men have a slight advantage due to their superior goal difference. “We want to make sure we win the group. That's what it's all about,” stated Müller, calling on his team-mates to play “using the ball and brain.”

Germany are well aware of the significance of this showdown as the 2010 Golden Boot winner confirmed. “We really need to be on our toes in this tournament,” warned Müller, “otherwise it can be over quicker than you think and then you'll just be watching it on telly.” Top sides like holders Spain, England and Italy have already discovered that fact of life.

'A draw is not an option'

A draw for the Squadra Azzurra would have been enough in their last group match against Uruguay – as it would be for Germany now. But Müller does not want to take any risks. “Anybody who saw me after the Ghana match will see that a draw is not an option,” vouched Müller full of commitment. “We're going into the game as you should do. We've got our way of playing football and we'll stick to that.”

The main man in the Germany strike force is happy with that definition as Müller is second top scorer with three goals behind Neymar (4). However, winning the Golden Boot again is not his primary aim. “At the end of the day that comes with the territory,” explained Müller. “My target is to be a world champion rather than a top scorer.” Not, however, in boxing.