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Wednesday, July 5, 2006
Klinsmann ponders future after defeat

Jurgen Klinsmann will bide his time before deciding whether to stay on as Germany coach.

Franz Beckenbauer has been among those imploring Klinsmann remain in the position despite Germany's World Cup semi-final defeat by Italy.

But Klinsmann, who lives in California, will not make an immediate decision.

He said: 'My own situation is not the most important thing right now. I need some time to let all of this sink in and some time to speak to my family.'

Beckenbauer, the former German captain and coach and now president of the World Cup organising committee, said: 'The fans like him, the players like him and I hope he stays on.'

Klinsmann at least believes the future is bright for German football.

He said: 'The players have enormous potential and have attracted attention in international football. We should not be afraid of the future - in Germany we have every reason to be optimistic about our footballing prospects.

'Quite a few players have made a name for themselves and attracted the attention of major football clubs around the world.'

Italy won 2-0 in Dortmund thanks to stunning strikes from Fabio Grosso and Alessandro del Piero in the last minutes of extra-time.

Klinsmann expressed his 'huge pride' in his players and said Germany could be optimistic about the future.

He added: 'To lose a game like that after 120 minutes is a bitter pill to swallow but a huge compliment should go to the team for what they have achieved and the character they have shown.

'We have a very young team and they did fantastically well throughout the tournament - the spirit and character they showed was amazing. They played tremendously, they gave all their heart, and played passionate, attacking football.

'The World Cup has been a huge success for the team and for the country and has shown a whole new German face to the world - and that is something we can all be proud of.'

Klinsmann insisted he had instructed his players to try and win the game in extra-time rather than play for penalties - even though Germany have never lost a shoot-out in World Cup history.

He said: 'We tried our best to score during extra-time and that was our goal from the very first moment. We came close but we would never go into a game saying 'we have to secure a draw for a penalty shoot-out', that's not our mentality.'

The Germany coach also paid a special tribute to Arsenal keeper Jens Lehmann, who appeared particularly distraught at the final whistle.

Klinsmann added: 'Every one of the players is hugely disappointed, they all had a big dream to reach the final in Berlin and the dream didn't come true.

'Jens played an absolutely fantastic tournament, as did everyone, but it will take some time for them all to come to terms with it.

'It hurts to get this fatal blow in the last minute of the match and I told my team in the dressing room they have achieved an amazing thing in this World Cup.

'It is bitter but that is what sport is all about. We will swallow this bitter pill and try and give our supporters a good performance and something to cheer about in the match for third place.'




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