Football / World Cup USA '94: Disgraced Effenberg shown the door: Group C: Germans blame heat for lacklustre display against South Koreans but admit to a lack of creativity in midfield

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The Independent Online
STEFAN EFFENBERG is heading home in disgrace, his World Cup over. The midfielder, substituted during the 3-2 victory over South Korea with which Germany won Group C, made an obscene gesture to barracking German fans as he left the field and might as well have kept walking straight to the airport.

The German federation (DFB) found Effenberg's action unacceptable and have sent him packing. 'He is no longer part of the squad,' the DFB's press officer, Wolfgang Niersbach, said.

Berti Vogts, Germany's coach, went further. 'It was the last straw,' Vogts said. 'I will not allow a player to make an obscene gesture like that to the crowd. As far as I am concerned Effenberg is over as an international player. He has done too much in recent years. There were also internal problems during the European Championships (in 1992 in Sweden).'

Effenberg is the second German player to be sent home from a World Cup. Goalkeeper Uli Stein was sent home from the 1986 finals after he criticised Vogt's predecessor, Franz Beckenbauer.

'The way the coach reacted was ridiculous,' Effenberg said after he packed his bags and left the team's headquarters at Oak Brook, near Chicago. 'I have talked to some of the players and they don't understand why I have to go. I overreacted. I don't regret it. But when I look back I am sorry. But it was 50C. I was playing for Germany at the World Cup for a place in the second round.

The decision clearly caused a stir in a German team already under fire from its own media after their disappointing form in the first round. Thomas Helmer, the defender, said: 'The team was surprised. It has been hit by all this and we are sorry. The feeling was that he should have been allowed to stay. All the players said he was wrong to do what he did. But there are different views about the severity of the penalty.'

The Fiorentina midfielder's undistinguished behaviour was another sign that all is not well in the German camp despite the team's success. South Korea exposed German defensive vulnerability in battling their way back from 3-0 down at the Cotton Bowl, in Dallas on Monday. Goalkeeper Bodo Illgner was forced to make two superb saves in the closing 15 minutes to deny the Koreans a point they had come close to by scoring twice in 11 minutes early in the second half.

Vogts was satisfied with his team's first-half performance but disappointed with the way they let the Koreans dominate them in the second. 'We made the Koreans look good, and in the end we were lucky to win,' he said. 'We played too passively in the second half and the Koreans were playing hari- kari football.'

The fault lay in a failure to pace themselves in the debilitating mid-afternoon heat, Vogts said. 'I think we played at too high a tempo in the first period, so in the second we fell prey to the heat,' he added. 'We are making life difficult for ourselves.'

GERMANY (1-3-1-3-2): Illgner (Colgone); Matthaus (Bayern Munich); Berthold (VfB Stuttgart), Kohler (Juventus), Brehme (Kaiserslautern); Buchwald (VfB Stuttgart); Effenberg (Fiorentina), Sammer (Borussia Dortmund), Hassler (Roma); Klinsmann (Monaco); Riedle (Borussia Dortmund). Substitutes: Moller (Juventus) for Matthaus, 64. Helmer (Bayern Munich) for Effenberg, 75.

SOUTH KOREA (1-4-3-2): Choi In Young (Hyundai Horang-I); Hong Myong Bo (POSCO Atoms); Kim Pan Keun (Lucky Goldstar Cheetahs), Park Jung Bae (Daewoo Royals), Shin Hong Gi (Hyundai Horang-I), Choi Young Il (Hyundai Horang-I); Lee Young Jin (Lucky Goldstar Cheetahs), Kim Joo Sung (VfL Bochum), Ko Jeong Woon (Ilhwa Chonma); Hwang Sun Hong, Cho Jin Ho (both POSCO Atoms). Substitutes: Chung Jong Son (Hyundai Horang-I) for Lee Young Jin, 38; Lee Woon Jae (Kyunghee University) for Choi In Young, h-t; Seo Jung Won (Lucky Goldstar Cheetahs) for Cho Jin Ho, h/t.