Jurgen Klinsmann: THE BULGARIANS WERE APPARENTLY BETTER THAN THE GREEK
When speaking about authorities in German football, Jurgen Klinsmann is just one step below the prophet Franz Beckenbauer. 1990 World Cup winner (Germany), 1996 European Championship Champion (Germany), two times UEFA Cup winner, bronze medallist from the Olympic Games in Seul and 1997 German First Division (Bundesliga) Champion (Bayern Munich) with 47 goals, Klinsmann is mostly respected for his outspokenness. On the eve of his 40th birthday Jurgen is occupied with half a dozen of tasks. He is ambassador of the organisational committee of 2006 Mondial, official spokesman of Adidas and Mastercard, member of two UEFA commissions, commentator for the Premiere TV channel, manager of his own football academy in Miami, Chairman of a charity foundation, and when he has time ... assistant in his father's bakery in Goeppinggen. Mr. Klinsmann, your forecast before the European Championship was for a final between Portugal and France. Why was your you prediction only 50% true?- Because Zinedine Zidane and Thierry Henry played with just half of their potential. When I made my forecast I did not know if Marcel Desailly was in good shape or off form. Moreover, I remained with the impression that some French players did not want to play at all. They did not only lack enthusiasm, but elementary ambition as well. And what did Germany lack?- Not willingness, of course. They rather lacked skill. Unlike Zinedine Zidane, Michael Ballack played to the utmost of his capacity, we just could not ask fro more from him. Kevin Kuranyi is our best forward, but he does not fit in that scheme with just one centre forward. Our mid-line is not capable of creating, it can only destroy. For a long time now we haven't got players such as Pierre Litbarski and Thomas Haessler (editor's note: both of them were keeping Klinsmann company in the commentators' boxes. Philipp Lahm is the only one on Germany's present squad that could match himself with the European aces. This is obviously insufficient. Many things should change in this team. Germany is zealously looking for a new national coach. Your popularity is not less than that of Rudi Voller. Aren't you tempted by his post?- Absolutely not. Principally, my dream is not to be a coach, and not at all in the present moment. Germany will be playing only friendly matches over the next two years. In that sense the choice of a new coach is not a matter of urgency at all. This could wait for two or three months. I think the Football Union should first of alldo their own homework before appointing a Rudi's successor.What homework?- First - to find a manager of the national team. Someone who will help the coach and will not let him assume the whole pressure and responsibility as it happened with Rudi.And what else?- The whole organisation of the national team needs to be completed and, what is most important, to open towards the society. Maybe a special council should be established in order to discuss and approve the objectives in front of the team. The decisions should not be taken by union officials in silence. The opinion of the federation is important, but attention should also be paid to what the league, the Mondial 2006 organisational committee, the sponsors, and even the media have to say. Rudi Voeller and at least two players from the team should take part in that council.Won't it make the situation even more chaotic?- Just the opposite. Then it will be clear who and how makes the decisions. Now the players always wonder who is responsible for what. In the next two years the whole world will be looking at the German football, so we should not discredit it.Did you enjoy Greece's triumph in this championship?- It is hard for me to say if I enjoyed it, but it was certainly a well-deserved triumph. After the first match, the Greeks kept constantly improving their game and that is how one can make great achievements. I remember the same happened to our team in 1996. There is a special internal force that accumulates in the team after a few good matches and then pushes it straight to the top. Thanks to that force, the Greeks did their job so well: insuperable in defence and patiently waiting for an opportunity in attack. I think that even Mr. Rehhagel had not suspected at the start that this recipe would lead him to the title. The Bulgarian team was the mere antipode. It was evidently better than the Greek one in terms of individuals and game, but the defeating 0:5 against Sweden broke its players.Germany and France were not the only ones to fail on Euro 2004. England, Italy and Spain did not reach the semi-finals either. Why did the Big Five discredited themselves?- Because the great figures on this championship arrived in Portugal physically and psychologically squeezed. They simply did not have a chance. The season in the US National Hockey League and the National Basketball Association which are not easy championships at all lasts nine months. In Europe, the football season lasts 11 months and then in the 12th there come the big international championships. That is why the stars were so pale in Portugal. It's not just the physique - they were mostly psychically exhausted and lacked ambition. On the other hand, the Portuguese and Greek clubs play in much easier championships and their European appearances are quite modest - Porto was the only exception last season. When the matches are not so numerous, the players manage to keep that hunger in themselves which takes them to the victory.