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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 July 2006, 06:16 GMT 07:16 UK
German football reborn
By Mandeep Sanghera
BBC Sport in Dortmund

Jurgen Klinsmann
Klinsmann has rejuvenated German football
The German party is over but the team's exploits at the World Cup have brought about a rebirth of the national side and a lasting legacy for the country.

A defeat by Italy in the semi-finals halted the juggernaut that manager Jurgen Klinsmann had surprisingly steamrollered to the last four.

But, rather than see it as the end, Klinsmann typically saw it as a new beginning for both the national team and country.

He has emerged as a master in positivity during his near two-year spell in charge of the team and, even through the darkness of defeat, Klinsmann saw light.

"This is not the most important question right now," he said as he sidestepped the issue over whether he would remain in charge.

"The most important thing to recognise is that this team gave a remarkable performance during this campaign.

"They played a very positive and attacking kind of football and experienced that they can keep up with the best in the world.

WORLD CUP BLOG
Our man Fletch in Dortmund
"So let's talk about that and not my own personal situation."

He added: "One of the most important things that we have achieved in the last two years is that we have seen players grow that have an enormous potential.

"We should not be afraid for what is coming up for Germany in the future.

"We have all the reasons to be optimistic and confident about our football prospects.

"Quite a few German players have made a name for themselves at the World Cup and attracted the attention of major football clubs around the world."

Klinsmann has also illuminated his own star and even German legend Franz Beckenbauer has called for him to continue such has been the progress made by the Nationalmannschaft.

German skipper Michael Ballack
Michael Ballack was in tears at the final whistle in Dortmund
It is a sharp turnaround of fortunes for the former German striker who also stated they could be proud of showing "an open-minded and friendly face" during the tournament.

He was lambasted after a 4-1 defeat to Italy on 1 March and his future seemed to be hanging in the balance.

But a team including eight of the players from that embarrassing night were instead serenaded off the pitch after the semi-final loss to the same opposition on Tuesday.

Klinsmann picked up the players who had sunk to the ground at the final whistle and went round to them individually to provide words of solace.

He clapped them off the pitch as they trudged back to the dressing room as he rose above his own emotions to console his dejected team.

Now the question, whether he departs back home to the California sun or not, is how long the new dawn will last?

Klinsmann insisted: "This development is still very recent and has to go on and will go on."



SEE ALSO
Last-gasp Italy knock Germany out
04 Jul 06 |  World Cup 2006
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BBC World Cup coverage
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