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   June 18, 2002 | 1530 IST


Umit Davala
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Voeller loses cool over criticism

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Germany coach Rudi Voeller admitted on Tuesday he had lost his usual cool while hitting back at his team's critics but said he would continue to defend his men.

"I always try to keep everything under control but I'm only a simple human being," Voeller said.

"When I took this job two years ago I said I would stand by the team and protect them whatever the circumstances," he said. "I'll continue to do that."

The Germans had been criticised in the international media for a sluggish performance in beating Paraguay 1-0 on Saturday to reach the last eight.

Rudi Voeller The usually composed Voeller told a news conference on Monday that he felt all the criticism, particularly from the international press, had been unfair.

But he used much stronger words later in the day in a television interview with an outburst during which he mentioned "some crazy English journalist" and harshly criticised South Korean all-time great Cha Bum-kun after both had noted the poor quality of the game.

"Perhaps Cha Bum ate too much Aspirin when he played for Bayer Leverkusen," said Voeller, who played with the South Korean at Leverkusen, whose sponsor, Bayer, invented the Aspirin.

"I have a good relationship with him and it was meant as a joke but I apologise if I hurt him," Voeller said on Tuesday.


But he would not do the same for Thomas Berthold, his former team mate in the Germany team, who also said the match was awful.

"For Thomas it's different," Voeller said. "There is a phrase in Italian that says you can miss a chance of remaining silent. He did just that."

Voeller said former Germany captain and coach Franz Beckenbauer had warned him before the tournament that he should not lose his temper.

"Franz told me that I should not take any notice to what's written in the press and just focus on coaching the team. I'm trying."

The former Germany striker said he was at the team's hotel when he had seen playmaker Michael Ballack checking out websites on a computer.

"I just looked over his shoulder and what I saw made me mad," he said.

In case of further criticism, Voeller promised to be more diplomatic, but he would not let anybody attack his team.

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