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SOCCER NOTES

Klinsmann to Step Down as the Coach of Germany

July 12, 2006|From the Associated Press

Juergen Klinsmann, who coached Germany to a third-place finish at the World Cup last week, is stepping down, the co-president of the German soccer federation said early today.

"I regret his decision, but we have to accept it," Gerhard Mayer-Vorfelder said.

The Bild newspaper and the Sueddeutsche Zeitung first reported that Klinsmann wouldn't extend his contract that ended with the World Cup.

Klinsmann called German soccer federation (DFB) co-president Theo Zwanziger and national team manager Oliver Bierhoff to tell them that he would not be staying in the job, the papers reported.

DFB spokesman Harald Stenger confirmed that Klinsmann had called Zwanziger and Bierhoff but would not disclose the details of the conversation.

The two newspapers said Klinsmann's assistant Joachim Loew was the likely successor.

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Marco Materazzi acknowledged he insulted Zinedine Zidane before the French captain head-butted him in the World Cup final, but repeated his denial that he called Zidane a "terrorist."

"I did insult him, it's true," Materazzi said in Tuesday's Gazzetta dello Sport. "But I categorically did not call him a terrorist. I'm not cultured and I don't even know what an Islamic terrorist is."

A Paris-based anti-racism group issued a statement Monday saying Materazzi had called Zidane, whose parents emigrated to France from Algeria, a "dirty terrorist."

Zidane and Materazzi exchanged words in extra-time of Sunday's final in Berlin. Seconds later, Zidane lowered his head and rammed Materazzi in the chest, knocking him to the ground. Zidane was ejected from the match.

"I held his shirt for a few seconds only, then he turned round and spoke to me, sneering," the Italian defender told the newspaper. "He looked me up and down, arrogantly and said: 'If you really want my shirt, I'll give it to you afterwards.' "

Luis Medina Cantalejo, the fourth official in the match, says he saw Zidane head-butt Materazzi, rejecting claims that television replays led to France's captain being sent off.

Referee Horacio Elizondo didn't show Zidane a red card until about two minutes after his violent act on the Italy defender on Sunday, leading France Coach Raymond Domenech to suggest TV replays were used because the referee and his two assistants hadn't seen the incident.

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The local World Cup coordinator for Berlin shot himself in the head hours after Sunday's final in an apparent suicide attempt. Police spokeswoman Claudia Schulz confirmed newspaper reports that 65-year-old Juergen Kiessling had shot himself. She said there was no indication anyone else was involved. The Bild daily reported Kiessling remains in a Berlin hospital.

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The contract for France coach Domenech has been extended, two days after his team lost the World Cup final to Italy. Terms will be discussed at the federation's next board meeting.... Leo Beenhakker will become the first foreigner to coach Poland after its dismal showing at the World Cup. The 63-year-old Dutchman replaces Pawel Janas, Poland's soccer federation said.... UEFA president Lennart Johansson, 76, wants one more four-year term as head of European soccer's governing body, telling the executive committee he had decided to seek "a further, and final, term of office." ... Salomon Kalou was granted a work permit to play for English Premier League champion Chelsea and will start preseason training next week, the club said.

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