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Friday, 14 June, 2002, 08:42 GMT 09:42 UK
Beckenbauer blames tiredness
German legend Franz Beckenbauer
Beckenbauer believes too many players are tired
German legend Franz Beckenbauer has blamed too many club matches in Europe for the shock early exits of France and Argentina from the World Cup.

"Billions of viewers around the world are switching on television to watch the World Cup and what are they seeing - tired stars," said Beckenbauer.

"All the best players play in Europe and they have to play too many matches. Fifa has to do something. It has to react," he urged.

Beckenbauer highlighted the case of France's Arsenal-based midfielder Patrick Viera.

"He is a player I like a lot but how many matches has he played this season - 80-90?

"It's impossible to be fresh. It's logical they have to be tired," he said.

Patrick Vieira
Patrick Vieira's World Cup never really got going

"The reason I never thought of tipping Spain to win the World Cup is because the players there play far too many matches.

"Here they have had good results but I am not impressed by their performances."

Beckenbauer, who heads the organising committee for the 2006 World Cup in Germany, says the 2006 tournament will kick-off nine days later that 2002 to give players time to recover.

"That extra time will be vital. After a busy European season the players will be able to rest and recuperate, get over injuries," he said.

The Korea-Japan World Cup started on 31 May 31 but Germany 2006 is scheduled to start in Munich on 9 June.

Beckenbenbauer, who won the World Cup both as a player and a coach, declined to tip a winner for the 2002 World Cup.

"Before the tournament when everyone asked I said France and Argentina. Look what happened to them. Now I have given up trying to pick the winner," he added.


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