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Saturday, 15 June, 2002, 09:02 GMT 10:02 UK
Voeller revels in victory
Oliver Neuville celebrates scoring the winner for Germany
Germany are the first side into the quarter-finals
Rudi Voeller insisted Germany deserved to be in the quarter-finals after seeing off Paraguay with a late Oliver Neuville strike.

Neuville converted a cross from his Bayer Leverkusen team-mate Bernd Schneider on 88 minutes just as the match seemed destined for extra time.

Germany will face Mexico or the USA in the next round and coach Voeller is cautiously optimistic about their chances of reaching the last four.

Open Quote
It's thoroughly possible we can run all the way through
Close Quote
Oliver Kahn

"We deserved to win. I believe we were the better team today," he said.

"We have to see the tournament realistically. We have been able to stand up to the pressure.

"We came here knowing we're not a team that can put other teams up against the wall.

"Our goal has been to reach the semi-finals. We have to maintain our modesty now."

The Germans just shaded the game despite having defender Carsten Ramelow and midfielders Christian Ziege and Dietmar Hamann suspended.

And Voeller blamed the enforced reshuffling of the side for a poor first-half display.

"That's why we had a few problems to iron out in the first half. We were better in the second," he said.

"You can't re-align things at the drop of a hat when you're without three players.

"I got a bit annoyed in the opening period as we were doing precisely the opposite to what I had intended.

Oliver Kahn was celebrating his 33rd birthday
Kahn was celebrating his 33rd birthday

"But after the interval we played good football. The defence kept things very tight."

Neuville made the most of his first start of the finals after being left out against the Republic of Ireland and coming on as a substitute against Saudi Arabia.

"We played well, they came for a 0-0 draw but we deserved to win," said Neuville.

"I'm very pleased, this is my first match where I've been on from the start at a World Cup.

"I lost my place but I talked to Rudi two or three days before this match and now all is well.

"I only found out I was playing two hours before kick-off."

Goalkeeper Oliver Kahn, who was celebrating his 33rd birthday, said: "The most decisive thing is the mentality, the belief we can stay in the tournament and advance.

"Everything is possible now. It's thoroughly possible we can run all the way through."


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GROUP E
  P GD PTS
GERMANY 3 +10 7
IRELAND 3 +3 5
CAMEROON 3 -1 4
SAUDI ARABIA 3 -12 0

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