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Saturday, 8 June, 2002, 11:02 GMT 12:02 UK
Walem feels written wrath
Japan's Kazuyuki Toda challenges Johan Walem of Belgium
Walem (right) in action in Belgium's opening match

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The Flemish press have made Standard Liege playmaker Johan Walem the scapegoat for Belgium's poor start to the World Cup.

Walem was taken off after 70 minutes of the 2-2 draw against Japan and there is speculation that Schalke 04's Sven Vermant will take his place for the next match against Tunisia.

Walem has long been a favourite target of the Flemish press.

"Why is it always me who is under scrutiny?" Walem asked.

"I sincerely believe that I did my job. I have a free role and I'm responsible for all the set-pieces," he told newspaper La Derniere Heure.

"I wasn't exceptional but I was not bad either."

However, Walem is not hiding and also gave an interview to Het Nieuwsblad. "For some people, I can never do anything right." was the headline.

Waseige might be tempted to put Vermant in midfield, along with Timmy Simons and Gert Verheyen.

All three were at Bruges last season and they may bring some solidity to Belgium's play.


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GROUP H
  P GD PTS
JAPAN 3 +3 7
BELGIUM 3 +1 5
RUSSIA 3 0 3
TUNISIA 3 -4 1




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