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Last Updated: Friday, 7 July 2006, 18:46 GMT 19:46 UK
End of 'Klinsmann project'?
By Phil McNulty
Chief football writer in Berlin

Jurgen Klinsmann
Klinsmann's team have restored German football's reputation
Jurgen Klinsmann is used to pressure - it takes a lot to unsettle a man happy to park his 1967 Volkswagen Beetle alongside gleaming Porsches in the Spurs car park.

And Germany coach Klinsmann is very much the centre of attention after this national icon took his much-criticised team on an unlikely journey that almost brought them to the World Cup final.

Klinsmann and his players are heroes after only losing to Italy with two-goals in the dying seconds of their semi-final - and they will be feted as such in Berlin on Sunday.

Reputations and national pride have been restored. The future is bright.

But will it be with Klinsmann? This is the new pressure he has to survive - a national debate that is gripping Germany.

Klinsmann faced the media in Berlin and evaded questions on his future with all the consummate skill he displayed in a glittering career, reflecting on a job almost everyone in Germany regards as well done.

There is a hell of a lot more to be done - it will go on and on

Jurgen Klinsmann
Not that this was the case when he was doing it from his base in California and taking an 11-hour flight to Germany twice a month - and was being criticised from all quarters for doing it.

Germany now wants to give thanks to Klinsmann, a gesture he is happy to accept.

First, however, he is ready to enjoy the third place play-off in Stuttgart on Saturday before a return to Berlin.

He said: "Having been secluded in hotel after hotel we want our piece of the action. We want to be there on the "Fan Mile" in Berlin."

Klinsmann shed a tear when he had a testimonial in Stuttgart in May 1999 - and he knows emotions will be running high with the big question about his future yet to be answered.

"Emotions are always part of the game," he said. "They can go in all directions and trigger off great things, such as our last-minute goal against Poland.

"It cuts both ways as well. The emotions were different after we lost to Italy."

So will what one media commentator called "The Klinsmann Project" continue?

"I wouldn't call it that," he said. "It is not a Klinsmann project. It is something the team, coaching staff and many other supporters have created.

"They have been professional to build one team, devise a strategy and find ways to be successful at the World Cup.

"It is a long-term thing that has got us where we are."

And, without giving any clues about his next move, he explained the philosophy that was once mocked but is now admired.

He said: "It is our self-given task to make every single player a better player on an individual basis, and if everyone becomes better, it is only a matter of time before the team becomes better.

The world is looking at Germany again

Jurgen Klinsmann
"But there is a hell of a lot more to be done. It will go on and on. Football is never a standstill affair.

"We were privileged to have a team that has rewarded us by providing offensive, fast-paced football.

"You are driven and guided by the next challenge, the next match or the next training camp.

"We knew it wouldn't be easy and that there would be setbacks, relapses, negative happenings and defeats, but we always hoped we would draw lessons from those."

Germany's players are attracting attention from Europe's big clubs again - a good sign for Klinsmann and vindication of his policies.

He said: "The world is looking at us again."

The big question in Germany is where Klinsmann will be looking next, and he will keep the country waiting for an answer.



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