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Friday, 21 June, 2002, 12:07 GMT 13:07 UK
Polish FA sacks Engel
Jerzy Engel takes training
Engel says he is partly to blame for Poland's exit
Poland coach Jerzy Engel revealed he had been fired on Friday following his team's poor World Cup performance.

"The decision was taken by people nobody has ever heard of. It was sad and unpleasant," Engel said on Polish radio.

"I lost out against people who have never achieved anything in their lives."

Engel lost the confidence of the Polish Soccer Federation's (PZPN) coaching panel, which reviewed the side's showing in South Korea and the reasons for their failure to make it past the opening round.

Engel led Poland to their first finals in 16 years, but the team did not match their form in qualifying.

They lost to co-hosts South Korea and Portugal before finally coming alive to beat the United States when already eliminated.

Engel, 49, admitted underestimating the Koreans' speed, but harboured hopes of coaching Poland for the 2004 European championship qualifying campaign.

Hired in 2000, he steps down with a record of 11 wins, eight defeats and nine draws as coach.

It was not enough for Ryszard Kulesza, a member of the PZPN's executive committee, who led the calls for Engel to be sacked.

"Engel should leave. There is no doubt he is responsible for our loss," Kulesza said.

"We played two very bad games, conceded six goals and scored none.

"We won the last match, but we did so thanks to some changes which were forced by injuries and the suspension of Piotr Swierczewski."

Widzew Lodz manager Dariusz Wdowczyk and Wisla Krakow's Henri Kasperczak are now the front-runners to replace Engel.


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GROUP D
  P GD PTS
SOUTH KOREA 3 +3 7
USA 3 -1 4
PORTUGAL 3 +2 3
POLAND 3 -4 3

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