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Friday, 7 June, 2002, 12:23 GMT 13:23 UK

Waseige refuses to talk

By John Chapman
in Brussels

Relations between the Belgium coach and the domestic media deteriorated further on Friday with Robert Waseige refusing to talk to the Flemish press.

Despite taking a point from the opening game against co-hosts Japan, there has been widespread criticism of Waseige and his players in recent days.

" When I see what is being said, I tell myself that silence is golden "
Robert Waseige

So, at Friday's press conference, Waseige refused to answer any questions from the media representatives from the north of the country.

"I don't want to talk any more. When I see what is being said, I tell myself that silence is golden," Waseige said.

Belgium FA President Jan Peeters came to Waseige's defence, saying that "the friends of Leekens" were taking their revenge.

This was a reference to the atmosphere during the 1998 World Cup, when then-coach Georges Leekens was continually attacked by the Francophone press.

Waseige said that he understood why Wesley Sonck no longer wanted to talk to the media and that the player had been shocked at having his words taken out of context.

He also had words to say about Bob Peeters, who was left out of the squad and is working on Flemish TV (VRT).

Waseige claimed the players were not affected by all the press criticism. "They're growing up," he said.

The good news from the Belgium camp is that Waseige hopes to have a full squad to choose from fore the Tunisia game on Monday.

Schalke's Nico van Kerckhoven, the only doubt at present, looks likely to be fit.

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