Italy hammer Germany 4-1
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Italy hammer Germany 4-1

German coach Klinsmann expects his team to bounce back from the drubbing at the hands of Italy.

india Updated: Mar 02, 2006 21:32 IST

Germany coach Juergen Klinsmann expects his team to bounce back from a 4-1 drubbing at the hands of Italy and to redeemthemselves in the upcoming World Cup tune-up against the United States.

While Wednesday's loss in Italy left fans and the media reeling 99 days before Germany kicks off the World Cup, the ever-optimistic Klinsmann said he would make no changes to Germany's roster.

"We fully believe in this team. All the players who were there last night will be called back for the match against the United States," Klinsmann told reporters in Frankfurt after the team's return on Thursday.

"They will get the chance to make amends." Captain Michael Ballack promised as much. "You will see a different Germany in Dortmund," he said.

Germany hosts the United States on March 22 in Dortmund. The United States also played Wednesday, beating Poland 1-0 on a snowy night in Kaiserslautern. One of the Americans' group rivals at the World Cup is Italy, while Germany has Poland in its group. Klinsmann said his team never recovered after conceding two goals inside the first seven minutes.

In some other matches, Brazil beat Russia 1-0, Argentina lost to Croatia 3-2 and England beat Uruguay 2-1.

"But there are no excuses. You can lose against Italy, but we expect redemption, we want to see a reaction against the United States," Klinsmann said.

"This team is strong enough to overcome such setbacks. It's stable enough to put it behind. With positive thinking, there will be no problems. We have to look ahead." Klinsmann said one of the reasons for his team's poor performance was that some of the players were not starters in their foreign clubs. He said tactical errors could be fixed when Germany goes into training camp before the World Cup.

"We firmly believe that we will be in the tournament until the end," Klinsmann said.

But in the media, there was no talk about another title for the three-time champion.

"Shuddering," commented the mass-circulation newspaper Bild. "Mamma mia, we are bad," said the influential newspaper, which has been critical of Klinsmann, especially his decision to continue to live in California.

"With 100 days left until the World Cup, we wanted to know what's hiding in our team. The shocking 4-1 in Florence gave us the brutal answer: nothing," Bild said.

Bild rated all German players with a the lowest possible mark of six _ equivalent to "not having earned their pay." The Kicker magazine called the game a "disaster" for Germany and said it had been humiliated.

It also called Klinsmann's defensive game plan "naive"— saying the defenders were playing too far up front.

Defense has been Klinsmann's problem for a long time. Klinsmann ruled out a return for experienced Borussia Dortmund defender Christian Woerns.

"No. He was disrespectful to the coach," Klinsmann said.

Woerns criticized Klinsmann after being left out of the squad to face Italy and the coach later said he wouldn't be called up again. Germany has not won against a top-class team for more than five years.

"Germany shrinks to a soccer dwarf," wrote the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper.

First Published: Mar 02, 2006 21:32 IST