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Last Updated: Friday, 7 July 2006, 13:29 GMT 14:29 UK
Klinsmann dismisses USA job link
By Phil McNulty
Chief football writer in Berlin

Jurgen Klinsmann
Klinsmann has proved a popular coach
Germany coach Jurgen Klinsmann pleaded not to be put under pressure to decide his future - as he played down claims he is a target for the United States.

Opinion polls show Germany are desperate to keep Klinsmann in charge, while it is claimed all 23 World Cup squad members are keen to keep him.

"It is not a question of my terms of reference or powers - it is family," said Klinsmann.

"I have had no contact or interest at all from the United States."

Klinsmann led the hosts to the semi-finals before they were knocked out by Italy.

The former Spurs striker, who now lives in Santa Barbara, which has been a source of criticism during his German reign, and he has been touted as a successor to United States coach Bruce Arena.

I think the Argentina game was the best possible example of the character of Michael Ballack

Jurgen Klinsmann

But he added: "Please spare me more questions about my future because that fact will come after the event, as I have said umpteen times."

Klinsmann is at the centre of a virtual national campaign to persuade him to stay, and he said: "I love receiving those compliments more than getting stick about not living in Germany.

"I have to discuss these matters with my family, but I am just happy to see a team in place that is positive and has every right to be positive.

"There is no denying that there will be a lot of work still to be done, but the team will go down the right road using that philosophy."

606 VIEW

Klinsmann also defended Chelsea new boy and national captain Michael Ballack after criticism of his World Cup performances.

Ballack was ruled out of the opening game against Costa Rica with a calf injury, and the same problem means he missed the third-place play-off with Portugal.

Klinsmann said: "Michael Ballack has a very important role. He has literally filled out his role of captain at the World Cup.

"He has great strength and we speak of him with the greatest respect."

Klinsmann said: "He didn't play in the first game against Costa Rica and didn't train for a week and he was trying to find his rhythm.

"I think the Argentina game was the best possible example of the character of Michael Ballack.

"He was plagued by cramp and left the pitch, but he wouldn't be substituted and only left the field after the game was decided."

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