Klose quietly ready to reach his century

July 2nd, 2010 - 5:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Bayern Munich Erasmia (South Africa), July 2 (DPA) Miroslav Klose will join an illustrious group of German players to reach 100 caps if he takes the field as expected against Argentina Saturday in the World Cup football.
Only eight German players have reached the century mark, including three who won all or some of their caps playing for former East Germany.

And although Klose will never reach record international Lothar Matthaeus on 150, he is not far off second-placed Juergen Klinsmann, who made 108 appearances, or the legendary Franz Beckenbauer who reached 103.

His two goals at the tournament so far have also taken his World Cup tally over three tournaments to 12. The 2006 World Cup leading scorer with five goals needs only two more to draw level with Germany’s best-ever scorer Gerd Mueller.

Only Brazil’s Ronaldo (15), Mueller (14) and French legend Just Fontaine (13) have scored more goals at the World Cup.

Of the field players in Joachim Loew’s squad, Klose, at just turned 32, is not only the most experienced but now the oldest in Germany’s youngest squad since 1934.

But the Polish-born striker, who has always shunned the limelight and plays unselfishly for the team, is much appreciated by the younger players who are experiencing their first major tournament.

Klose is “very important,” midfielder Mesut Oezil told the German Press Agency dpa of the striker’s influence on the team.

Oezil, who was 12 when Klose made his debut for Germany in March 2001, said: “We knew he was very dangerous in front of goal and that he plays for the team, and that’s something you can see on the pitch.

“Personally I get on very well with him and we have a great understanding.”

Klose is repaying the faith shown him by Loew after a dreadful season spent largely on the substitutes’ bench at Bayern Munich. He scored only three goals in Bayern’s title-winning season and his confidence appeared to be in tatters.

But Loew did not want to ditch a player who had scored so many important goals for his country and knew he could get the striker back into shape.

He scored as Germany began their World Cup with a 4-0 thrashing of Australia but a setback came with the sending-off against in the 1-0 defeat to Serbia.

Klose then bounced back to strike his 50th goal for Germany in the 4-1 defeat of England.

Klose’s own quiet belief in his abilities, confidence in the German team’s medical and physical training staff and the knowledge that the coach was behind him helped his return to form.

“He shows me in every practice that he believes in me and my skills and qualities,” Klose said of Loew.

“He gives me time. He counts on me, even when it doesn’t go so well.”

Klose would dearly love to mark his 100th game with a goal to put Germany into the semi-finals, and is still eyeing Ronaldo’s record tally of 15 World Cup goals.

Many commentators believed Klose’s international playing days would be over even before the end of the tournament, but the striker says he is not thinking of quitting yet.

“As long as my feet will carry me, as long as I can I will try to play football,” he said.

He has already set his sights set on Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine.

“I was born in Poland, have relatives there and love the country and the people,” he told Germany’s Sport Bild.

“It would be nice to play a big tournament there once again.”

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