You think you've got it bad, Sven? Read what Germany's doing to its football boss

Klinsmann under fire over host nation's disastrous build-up to the World Cup
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The Independent Online

Sven Goran Eriksson, the England football coach, could be forgiven for feeling sorry for himself. He has had to put up with "fake sheikh" sting operations, front-page stories about his love life, and constant calls for him to resign.

But Sven can afford a little smile when he considers the lot of Germany's coach, Jürgen Klinsmann. With the World Cup due to start in Germany in less than three months, Klinsmann has come under fire for managing the team from a sunny beach in a California, 6,000 miles from the freezing German winter.

After a series of embarrassing defeats in warm-up matches, the hosts are in crisis. Newspaper headlines have claimed "The whole world is laughing at us", while MPs in the German parliament have demanded an explanation of his training methods.

Klinsmann has been living in California since his playing career ended. Influenced by his time in the sun-kissed, easy-going West Coast state, he has ditched traditional German training methods and brought in American conditioning experts as well as organising inspirational talks.

The former Tottenham striker has also been lambasted by Franz Beckenbauer, probably the only ex-German footballer more famous than Klinsmann. Beckenbauer, who won the World Cup as a player in 1974 and as coach in 1990, attacked Klinsmann for flying back to California instead of attending a coaches' conference in Germany. "It is incredible that he is not here," Beckenbauer said.

Fans now fear the team may not even reach the second round - something no host nation in World Cup history has failed to achieve. The criticism has intensified over the past week following Germany's 4-1 defeat by Italy - the 17th game in a row that Germany had failed to beat top-class opposition.

But before England fans get too smug, it is worth remembering that footballing cliché. According to former England striker Gary Lineker, football is a simple game: 22 men run around a pitch for 90 minutes - then the Germans win on penalties.

SVEN v JÜRGEN: THE SCORE

Eriksson

Famous for stacked heels, love affairs and over-cautious tactics. Liaisons with Ulrika Jonsson and Faria Alam have put his love life on the front pages.

He says: "I think we can win the World Cup, I have always said that."

He means: "I'll be on the first plane back to Sweden when we get knocked out by Trinidad and Tobago."

Klinsmann

Laid-back and easy-going - perhaps more Californian than German. Known as the "blond bomber". Accused of spending too much time on the US west coast.

He says: "I've got my plan with everything necessary for the World Cup preparations."

He means: "I'll be on the first flight back to California when we get knocked out by Costa Rica."

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