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Monday, 24 June, 2002, 11:21 GMT 12:21 UK
Voeller praises Ballack
Michael Ballack (left) and Oliver Kahn celebrated reaching the World Cup final
Ballack (left) and Kahn celebrate victory
Germany coach Rudi Voeller said Michael Ballack did his country proud in the semi-final win against South Korea.

Five minutes before scoring the only goal of the game Ballack was shown a yellow card when he committed a foul to halt a threatening Korean attack.

The booking meant he would miss the final if Germany went through.

But the Bayern Munich-bound player shrugged off his disappointment to send his country into the final.

Open Quote
I'm happy for the team, for the entire nation
Close Quote
German hero
Michael Ballack

"It's a great pity he will miss the final, he was one of the best players today," said Voeller.

"Even though he knew that with another yellow card he would miss the final, he still committed that tactical foul that was absolutely necessary.

"He placed himself at the service of the team and the whole of Germany - the entire country will stand and applaud him."

Voeller was pleased with the way his side went about their task.

"We started well right from the start, we were very compact in defence," he said.

"We are always in the position to create chances, we were the deserved winners."

It was a bitter-sweet occasion for Ballack, but he was delighted that Germany had reached a record seventh World Cup final.

"It's a great achievement. I'm happy for the team, for the entire nation," said Ballack.

"It just has to sink in first."

Goalkeeper and captain Oliver Kahn said Germany's success was down to their fitness and discipline.

"We had watched South Korea carefully and had noticed that they tired game after game.

"We knew if we managed to remain compact and tight, it should be enough."

Brazil and Turkey meet in the second semi-final on Wednesday for the right to face Germany in Sunday's final.


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German striker Oliver Bierhoff
"It is a pity for Ballack - he is an important player"
Germany's Dietmar Hamann
"The team is working together to win"
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