PORTO SEGURO, Germany (AP) — Toni Kroos plays alongside so many star players that his own contribution is often overlooked, both for his club and for Germany.
This World Cup could be his chance to grab more of the spotlight.
Kroos' strong performance in the 4-0 opening victory over Portugal was overshadowed by Thomas Mueller's three goals, but his statistics impressed even his coaches, who have given him the role of Germany's main ball distributor.
It is something the Brazilians call "garcon," or waiter, in their football terminology, and Kroos is happy to play that role on the field.
Even Kroos was surprised to have covered 11.7 kilometers (7.27 miles) during the match in Salvador's sweltering heat, while having an 88-percent passing accuracy.
"I usually don't run that much, true," the Bayern Munich midfielder said Wednesday. But he was not surprised by his passing rate.
"That's what my role is all about and I like making my teammates look good," he said. "I don't mind doing the 'waiter' part on the field, but not at dinner time."
Germany's assistant coach Hansi Flick said Kroos' "development has been great."
"He protects the ball well, he opens up the game with his passing and he gives assists. He's played at a very high level all season. The only area where he could improve is scoring," Flick said.
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