Mesut Ozil is arguably Germany's most important player at the World Cup, according to Dietmar Hamann, who has urged critics of the midfielder to lay off him.
Former Germany stars Stefan Effenberg and Lothar Matthaus were among those who piled in on the 29-year-old, with the latter suggesting he could be in the final days of his international career.
But Hamann feels Germans should lay off Ozil and stop making him the scapegoat.
"Ozil is a brilliant player with great merits for German football. So steer clear of Ozil," Hamann said.
"If we want to play a role at the World Cup, he is one of the most important, if not the most important players in the team.
"The hunt for Ozil was not so bad for some players, they could just hide behind him. If it works, everyone is happy. If it does not work, Ozil is guilty. And if he did nothing, no one else did anything.
"There is too much talk about tactics and system, the Mexicans were just more aggressive, more powerful and the Germans were surprised by their class. We played naively, everyone wanted to play with the ball, no one without a ball."