Beckenbauer says Germany is calling for Voller

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The Independent Online

Franz Beckenbauer wants Rudi Völler to stay on as German coach until the 2002 World Cup. "I told Rudi recently and personally that the Germans want him to guide us to the 2002 tournament," the World Cup-winning captain and coach wrote in his column in Sport Bild newspaper yesterday.

Franz Beckenbauer wants Rudi Völler to stay on as German coach until the 2002 World Cup. "I told Rudi recently and personally that the Germans want him to guide us to the 2002 tournament," the World Cup-winning captain and coach wrote in his column in Sport Bild newspaper yesterday.

Völler, who was appointed on a caretaker basis last July, has a contract until 31 May.

However, pressure has been mounting for him to stay on after Christoph Daum, who was due to take over next year, was ruled out following a positive drugs test. Völler stepped in as Leverkusen coach after Daum resigned from that job, but both the club and the German Football Federation (DFB) made it clear he could only fill both positions temporarily.

"I think, and I hope, that Rudi will decide to keep working for the DFB," Beckenbauer wrote.

The former Germany player Lothar Matthäus has said he is considering retiring. "This might have been my last game as a professional player," the 39-year-old told reporters after his current team, New York-New Jersey MetroStars, lost 2-1 to Cologne in a friendly on Tuesday. The former Bayern Munich player's contract with the US club expires at the end of this month.

Matthäus, who retired from international football after extending his world caps record to 150 at Euro 2000, had hinted earlier that he might keep playing at club level. He also said he was interested in a coaching career and could imagine one day becoming Germany's head coach.

Japan's triumphant French coach Philippe Troussier arrived back in Tokyo on Wednesday and spoke of his incentive for winning the Asian Cup - a quarter-final exit at the Olympic Games in Australia.

Japan's under-23s had hoped to win an Olympic medal for the first time since 1968, but lost a penalty shoot-out 5-4 to the United States after drawing 2-2 in Adelaide.

"The defeat against the United States was very frustrating," said Troussier. "We had been playing so well up to that point, and still we couldn't win. But the disappointment only served to fuel my determination to bring the Asian Cup back to Japan. So this accomplishment means all that much more."

Japan won the continental championship for the second time in eight years, beating the defending champions Saudi Arabia 1-0 in Sunday's final in Lebanon. At the 1992 Asian Cup on home soil in Hiroshima, Japan triumphed by the same score over the same opposition.

After failing to win a place in the Olympic semi-finals in Sydney, Troussier returned declaring that the national side would win the Asian Cup. "See, I kept my promise," he told reporters at a news conference held in a hotel near Narita international airport.

"I like to put my money where my mouth is. Making that promise was a risk I understood, but one which I had to make.

"Football can be a cruel sport sometimes because the best team doesn't always win."

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