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   June 19, 2002 | 1515 IST


Umit Davala
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Klose to dedicate next goal to Walter

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Germany's scoring sensation Miroslav Klose said Fritz Walter would be in his heart as he chases more goals in Friday's World Cup quarter-final against the United States.

Klose said on Wednesday he had been deeply moved by the death on Monday of the captain of West Germany's 1954 World Cup-winning side, who once graced his Kaiserslautern club.

"He was always happy when I scored a goal for Kaiserslautern," said the tournament's joint leading scorer with five goals. "He used to send me post cards and bottles of wine.

"He followed my career and we talked a few times. He will never be forgotten in our family. He will always be in my heart and if I score against the United States, I'll dedicate the goal to him."

One of the revelations of the finals, the 24-year-old, who has hit an amazing 13 goals out of 16 internationals including three hat-tricks, has scored in every game Germany has played in the finals but Saturday's 1-0 second round win over Paraguay.

"I had my chances but I missed them," he said. "I'll try my best on Friday and, hopefully, it will be good enough for one or two goals. But the most important thing is that we win to reach the semi-finals."

Little known outside Germany a few weeks ago, Klose is now everybody's darling back home as well as a target for several prestigious European clubs.

"I know things will never be the same but I'm ready for it," said the quiet Polish-born Klose, who has a contract with Kaiserslautern until 2005 and has said he planned to stay there for at least another season.

"I hear the club has been receiving tonnes of mail. I'll probably need to change my car for a truck to carry it home. But I do read fan mail and I always try to answer it."


Asked whether he should hire an adviser to deal with all the fuss awaiting him back home, Klose said his parents would do nicely.

They know all about the pressures of competitive sport since father Josef played professional soccer for French side Auxerre in the late 1970s while mother Barbara appeared 82 times in Poland's national handball team.

"They've been there before," their proud son said. "I don't need anybody else."

Many observers had questioned whether Klose, who turned professional just three years ago and made his international debut only last year, had enough experience to make Germany's World Cup squad in the first place.

But after hearing coach Rudi Voeller, one of Germany's finest all-time goal aces, said he had everything to become a perfect striker, he soon exceeded expectations.

"Obviously, I would love the end the World Cup as the top striker but it's not that important," he said. "Few had expected I would have scored five goals already at this stage."

Then he started working out how he could earn a line of his own in the record books.

"There is one candidate less now that Italy have gone out," he said, referring to Christian Vieri.

But Brazil still have two serious contenders in Ronaldo and Rivaldo.

"I'm not comparing myself to Ronaldo and Rivaldo but it would be good if England could beat Brazil," he said.

"Then they would be out of the way, too."

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