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   June 5, 2002 | 2100 IST



France get the blues

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We asked for it, says captain Kahn

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Patrick Vignal

Captain Oliver Kahn said Germany have only themselves to blame for Ireland's late equaliser for a dramatic 1-1 draw in their World Cup group E game on Wednesday.

"In the second half we lost far too many balls and I could see that 1-1 coming," Kahn said after Robbie Keane kept alive Ireland's hopes of advancing to the knock-out stage by scoring with just over a minute left in added time.

"The Irish are like the Germans," added the Germany goalkeeper, who had earlier preserved his side's lead with a string of brilliant saves.

Germany captain Oliver Kahn"They fight and fight and fight. By letting them put us under pressure, we almost asked for the draw."

Germany, who would have made sure of a spot in the round of 16 next had they beaten Ireland, had entered the game on a roll after their record-breaking 8-0 demolition of Saudi Arabian in their first match in the finals.

"There's no need to put our heads down," said Kahn. "We're still in a good position and our fate remains in our own hands."


It will now all come down to Germany's last match against Cameroon next Tuesday in Shizuoka. Ireland and Cameroon drew their opening match 1-1 and the Africans play Saudi Arabia on Thursday.

"A draw should be enough," said Kahn.

The triple world champions had started the tournament with lower expectations than usual after a series of injury worries followed their shaky run in qualifying,

But hope had returned to their camp after they opened their campaign with their biggest World Cup win at Saudi Arabia's expense.

"The situation remains the same," said Kahn. "We are still capable of beating almost any team but when you make mistakes like the one we did on Ireland's goal at that level, you pay a high price."

Kahn refused to blame defender Carsten Ramelow, who had been faultless until he failed to tackle Keane before he scored.

"The problem was higher up," said the Bayern Munich player.

Asked if what he had in mind was a bad pass from Germany captain Oliver Bierhoff that sparked the Irish move which led the goal, Kahn nodded.

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