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Klose nears record as Spain prepare for biggest test

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Paul Fletcher | 20:30 UK time, Tuesday, 6 July 2010

World Cup 2010: Durban

Miroslav Klose spent most of last season warming the bench at Bayern Munich - but here in South Africa he has been of crucial importance to Germany for the third World Cup in succession.

His brace against Argentina on Saturday took him to four goals in the current tournament and 14 overall, level with compatriot Gerd Muller and one behind Brazil's Ronaldo.

The 32-year-old is now just a good day at the office away from becoming the tournament's all-time leading goalscorer.

In an attempt to put this into perspective, the Polish-born Klose recently recalled a conversation he had with Ronaldo after the 2002 tournament.

The Brazilian had just whacked in eight goals, including a brace in the 2-0 final win over Germany - and Klose remembers thinking that he would never scale such heady heights.

"Two goals to go past his record - it is just crazy," said Klose after the 4-0 victory over Diego Maradona's team set up Wednesday's semi-final tie against Spain in Durban.

I suspect many people would agree with him.

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He scored five goals at both the 2002 and 2006 World Cups, with the latter tally enough to secure the coveted Fifa Golden Shoe Award.

But the cynics might suggest that three of his goals in 2002 came in an 8-0 turkey-shoot against Saudi Arabia.

All of his goals in 2002 were headers, while in 2006 he scored twice against both Costa Rica and Ecuador - a record which suggests a one-dimensional forward who scores the bulk of his goals against weaker opposition.

His domestic career - all of which has been spent in Germany - has been a mixed bag. Last season, for example, he managed just three Bundesliga goals for Bayern.

Certainly, in terms of reputation and profile, Klose would be some way down the list of strikers to have played at the World Cup since he made his tournament debut in 2002.

Consider the competition at the start of the tournament in South Africa. Cristiano Ronaldo, Didier Drogba, Lionel Messi, Wayne Rooney and Kaka arrived as arguably the big five (although Spain's David Villa might have something to say about that) but went home having mustered two goals between them.

Klose, by contrast, might have seen red in the defeat against Serbia but is in excellent goalscoring form despite seeing Ivica Olic and Mario Gomez picked ahead of him virtually all season at Bayern.

Take, for example, Klose's first goal in the 4-1 thrashing of England. He showed the strength and persistence to shake off John Terry and Matthew Upson and the instincts of a true goal poacher to expertly steer a long clearance from Manuel Neuer beyond David James.

It showed that there is so much more to his game than his fabulous heading ability.

"Since 2002, he has always been a top performer in the major tournaments, always great for the national team, scoring decisive goals," German coach Joachim Loew told me during Tuesday's media session (just for the record, he arrived four minutes early).

"When it counts, Miroslav is there. It is not a surprise to me that he is scoring goals."

He is the type of player who responds to encouragement from those around him, particularly the coach. Perhaps that is why Klose thrives under Loew but struggled last season under Bayern boss Louis van Gaal, who has a more removed management style.

"Miroslav is fantastic in various ways," added Loew. "He integrates well with our style of play and is excellent at assessing his own performance.

"He knew when he joined the squad that he had not played as much as the other players and he knew that he had to train harder."

In a recent interview with German newspaper Bild, Klose explained that he had put himself through a strenuous personal fitness routine towards the end of last season. As a consequence, he lost weight and felt in better shape than he had for a long time.

The 2002 World Cup runner-up, who won his 100th cap against Argentina, also recently stated that personal scoring records are inconsequential: leaving South Africa with the trophy is what matters.

To have a chance to do that his side must defeat Spain on Wednesday in what will be a rematch of the Euro 2008 final. The Spaniards deservedly won 1-0 in Vienna, with Fernando Torres scoring in the first half.

Much has changed since, not least the loss of form by Torres after an injury-troubled season at Liverpool, as well as the emergence of a new generation of German talent.

Mesut Ozil, Thomas Mueller (who is suspended on Wednesday) and Sami Khedira have all enjoyed excellent tournaments. Khedira, a replacement for the injured Michael Ballack, is the oldest of the trio at 23.

The vibrancy, vim and vivacity that they have brought to the tournament has been well documented and should ensure that Wednesday's encounter is very different to their meeting two years ago.

pepe_reina_595.jpgGermany have arguably been the most attractive side in the tournament

"Germany are better than at Euro 2008, they have got stronger and we know it will be tough," Spain's Pepe Reina told me.

"As well as their attacking ability, their defending has been really good and tactically they are well organised. They have skilful players with a lot of pace and they have been the best team so far in the tournament."

Germany should have the self-belief built after scoring four goals in three separate matches and demolishing England and Argentina in the knockout stage.

Torres, meanwhile, has yet to score for Spain, while Cesc Fabregas, so influential after coming off the bench against Paraguay, is not certain to play after sustaining a leg injury in training.

I thought Paraguay very effectively neutralised Spain's quick, accurate passing game during their tight quarter-final meeting in Johannesburg.

Spain, who like Germany have already tasted defeat in Durban, have scored seven in five games (in contrast to Germany's 13) and just once have won by more than a one-goal margin, against Honduras in the group stage.

But as they pursue their dream of reaching the World Cup final for the first time, Reina is adamant that his side possess the tools to end Klose and Germany's World Cup dream.

"We have seen all of Germany's games. We knew that we could face them in the semi-final and, God bless us, we have to be ready for the battle," added the Liverpool keeper, who, along with Victor Valdes, is back-up to Iker Casillas. "We have to keep our philosophy that brought us here and continue to trust in our ability."

Everywhere in Durban there are signs telling us that it is the "warmest place to be" during the World Cup. Hopefully it will be red-hot on Wednesday.

You can follow me throughout the World Cup at twitter.com/Paul__Fletcher

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Aw, you were doing so well until you linked to David Bond's absolutely terrible 'Stars failed to shine' blog....

    But other than that fairly minor criticism, good blog, and thanks for educating me a bit about Klose's career from a statistical point of view. Personally, I think he's a decent player - decent, but not great - whose World Cup record has undoubtedly been enhanced by his goals against markedly inferior opposition, as you noted yourself.

    But, to be fair, he's certainly got a great goalscoring instinct, has a bit of strength about him, is pretty damned nifty in the air and possesses a capable shot with both feet. Let's put it this way, I'd have picked him over any English striker bar Rooney and possibly Defoe. Too bad he's German...

  • Comment number 2.

    May not be one of the greatest players ever but even though he scores against 'inferior' teams, he still gets the job done. Even gerd muller scored a lot of his world cup goals against teams like peru, australia and morocco. Obviously these two players aren't in the same league.

  • Comment number 3.

    Whoever scores first out of Germany and Spain, in my opinion, will go through. Germany have revelled in early leads, but the one time they went behind (Serbia) they could not cope.

    Congratulations to Klose, but it just feels 'wrong' that one of the greatest and most revered strikers of all time may have his record taken away from him by a striker that is good but not great, generally.

    However, in the world cups, Klose shines. Must infuriate his clubs!

  • Comment number 4.

    "while in 2006 he scored twice against both Costa Rica and Ecuador - a record which suggests a one-dimensional forward who scores the bulk of his goals against weaker opposition."

    As opposed to Ronaldo who scored against:

    Morocco (1)
    Belgium (1)
    China (1)
    Costa Rica (2)
    Japan (2)
    Ghana (1)

    Real giants of the game, eh, Paul?

  • Comment number 5.

    About Ronaldo's haul. One of the goals attributed to him in 2002 is an own goal. He was credited with two in the 5-2 win over Costa Rica when it should be one. This may seem like a little thing but given the prestige of being the top scorer in world cups, you would think more scrutiny would be applied to these things.

  • Comment number 6.

    Must confess his arrival just months before 2002 world cup gave me hope. The team was in doldrums, defense was weak and nobody was scoring for previous two three years. He hold the line and involve players. In my view he is a more complete player than Ronaldo was and has more assists then Ronaldo, plus he played in teams that has less creative flair before this world cup.

    I'll take him in my team any day (I'm glad he will be fit for Bayern from start) . The so called weaker opposition - well to the english fans there are no weaker teams in the World Cup. Remember the game of Algeria, they didn't even park the bus.

  • Comment number 7.

    Klose -- the absolute Legend.

  • Comment number 8.

    If Klose's goals against Costa Rica, Ecuador and Saudi Arabia makes him a "one-dimensional forward" or his record somehow inferior then Ronaldos' goals against Costa Rica (2), People's Republic of China and Japan (2) should as well, no? In fact, why don't we discount all goals scored by all strikers against all rubbish opposition? And to call his Bundesliga career "a mixed bag" whilst only pointing out his 2010 season is cherry-picking at best. Top goalscorer and German Footballer of the Year in 2006, 120 league goals in what amounts to only 8 full seasons as well as 24 goals in 72 European appearances. Then again, maybe he scored them all against rubbish opposition.

    It's shoddy argumentation.

  • Comment number 9.

    You're spot on cableguy - I think that anybody who scores 14 goals in a World Cup needs to be shown a healthy dose of respect for his achievements at the very least.

    However, I have heard countless arguments suggesting that Klose is something of a once every four season wonder, who turns up at World Cups but fails to deliver consistently enough at club level.

    It would have been very interesting to see what he would have done if he had moved to either Italy or Spain, which looked likely after the 2006 tournament.

    However, I do think there is some truth to the notion that he has had a mixed bag of a club career. As you point out he has a decent record, which you would expect for a quality player.

    But he has also had seasons when his form has left him for long periods, such as the 2002-03 campaign at Kaiserslautern and the one just finished at Bayern.

    Blasos - perhaps worth noting that Ronaldo scored twice in a World Cup final and once in a semi-final - both games that Brazil won.

  • Comment number 10.

    Sure, Paul, what's also worth noting is that Ronaldo played for the most part surrounded by the best team in the tournaments in which he played. Sorry, but your attempt to diminish Kloses's achievements hasn't worked.

  • Comment number 11.

    Klose has always been a finisher of real prowess so I was quite amazed to read that he had been blessing Bayern's bench this season mostly.

    I think the German team doesn't really get the plaudits it deserves, but the individuals who didn't or don't play in the Premiership are even more ignored. Fact is, Klose and Podolski would terrorise any competition - they are probably the world's best pairing, even more so than Villa and Torres.

  • Comment number 12.

    Sorry Paul on this one I disagree, how can you place a club career on par with an international one? You have mentioned 2 seasons over a 10-12 year career when he has had a dip in form, players who maintain 15-20 goals per season over that stretch of time are few and far between. The numbers are against you here Paul. 162 goals in just over 400 career appearances, 120 league goals in 280 odd appearances, plus 52 goals in 100 internationals.

    If we were discussing a certain Alan Shearer who Klose shares a lot of qualities with, and was too perhaps a little one dimensional I seriously doubt whether you would show as much contempt for his achievements. The problem is that Klose is not fashionable, or should I say marketable. Not too long along all that mattered was goals, but now its stepovers, backheels, pirouettes and Nike adverts. Please do not get sucked in to the trap of sycophancy towards the likes of Ronaldo and Rooney that plagues the game, revering players before they have proved a thing at the highest level. Cristiano Ronaldo for example, has time on his side but if he carries on the way he is now he will never be considered a true great.

    The best players of all time did it when it counted, at the world cup. Pele, Maradona, Beckenbauer, Zidane, Platini, Cruyff, Socrates, Zico, Klinsmann these are names of players whose lasting repuatation will be built on memories of great moments at the greatest occasion. Klose rightly deserves his record, if he gets it.

  • Comment number 13.

    Klose is an absolute legend. Granted, he is not in the same league as Gerd Müller or Ronaldo but his record both at club and international level is outstanding. Mind you, he wasn't a first team regular in the Bundesliga before the age of 23!
    As for his goalscoring pedigree at World Cups, it is simply incredible and the "inferior" opposition argument just doesn't hold up.

    His performance at the 2010 WC came from absolutely nowhere - the whole of footballing Germany called for him to dropped from the squad (not even the first team) before South Africa and look what he's done. Chapeau, Monsieur!


  • Comment number 14.

    I don't think Paul is trying to diminish Klose's achievements as a player or his abilities at all, rather he has to present a balanced blog or it will be dismissed as hyperbole by the very same people criticising him now. Clearly Klose is not as good a player as Ronaldo was, however he is one of the finest strikers and goalscorers at international level. If I underperformed at club level but broke the World Cup scoring record I would gladly accept it and I can imagine the best players in the world would feel the same. It would appear that Klose is the man for the big occasion and I hope he breaks the record hes one of the best goal poachers I've ever seen and I tipped him to win the Golden Shoe at the 2006 WC before it started so I have a bit of an affiliation with him.

    Good blog Paul!

  • Comment number 15.

    ive never been botherd to write in on peoples blogs or anything like that but this blog is terrible , the message is terrible ,i cant belive that theres even a bolg that is saying somthing so negivate about somthing that should be celebrated , 14 goals in three world cups yes 14 !!!!!! ... that screams world class , you cant pick who you play in the world cup the draw is done you lace your boots and you get on with it , i remember watching the 2002 world cup when the wonderful bbc said germany could lose as the saudis were a suprise package , 8 goals later and it was easy for the germans , one-dimensional player ?? thats just a lack or respect for the player !! he brings so much more to the team buy creating as much as fineshing you have a lap-top paul use it and look up information before you write rubbish which clearly is nitpicking , two games 3 goals againt argentina ? theres you weaker teams , the top scorer chart is full of players that have scored againts weaker teams , i wonder if its all due to the fact that us germans are unfashionable when placed next to our south american friends , with or without fair a goals a goal and the mans got 14 !! with the chance to score more tommorw , i for one hope he doesn because hes been the best german forward we have had for years and the man deserves it .

  • Comment number 16.

    @14. At 11:48pm on 06 Jul 2010, Jza_the_Genius wrote:
    I don't think Paul is trying to diminish Klose's achievements as a player or his abilities at all, rather he has to present a balanced blog or it will be dismissed as hyperbole by the very same people criticising him now. Clearly Klose is not as good a player as Ronaldo was, however he is one of the finest strikers and goalscorers at international level. If I underperformed at club level but broke the World Cup scoring record I would gladly accept it and I can imagine the best players in the world would feel the same. It would appear that Klose is the man for the big occasion and I hope he breaks the record hes one of the best goal poachers I've ever seen and I tipped him to win the Golden Shoe at the 2006 WC before it started so I have a bit of an affiliation with him.

    Good blog Paul!

    ---

    Klose has had an excellent career at club level, granted not the best season just gone but it involved a lot of substitute appearances. Bayern must have lost their minds a bit when they signed Mario Gomez for astronomical figures, he is simply not top class. Klose on the other hand....

  • Comment number 17.

    Klose's club goal-scoring record is pretty good though. He's slowed down a bit in the last couple of years, especially last year, but he'd been a pretty consistent scorer before the slump.

  • Comment number 18.

    I don't know why you say Klose will never be a legend, I guess you think there is something unacceptable about him, but many football fans disagree. Klose is already a minor legend and will be a major one if Germany go through and win this World Cup.

    There is a very good argument that he has been best player of the tournament so far, which is damn impressive from a guy who is 32 and a few years past his prime. It's not only that he has been scoring goals, he has been providing crucial assists, setting up attacking plays, providing devastating movements off the ball, and even getting back and making important defensive plays! It is incredible for such a prolific striker to also be as well rounded and generous of a team players as Klose is.

    When fit and getting starts, Klose has consistently been a world class goal scorer for both club and country, something you cannot say about today's so-called legends like Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, etc. If Klose leads Germany to World Cup victory he will certainly go down as one of the all-time great strikers in the game, and your column will look even more ridiculous and disrespectful than it does now.

    All strikers score most easily against weak opposition and get fewer goals against top opposition; it is hardly a discredit to Klose that he also is a part of reality and does not exist in some made-up fantasy land where a strikers score hardly any goals against weak opponents but tons of them against difficult opponents! That said, a brace against Argentina in a World Cup quarterfinal isn't too bad....

  • Comment number 19.

    @16

    Klose has had an excellent career at club level, granted not the best season just gone but it involved a lot of substitute appearances. Bayern must have lost their minds a bit when they signed Mario Gomez for astronomical figures, he is simply not top class. Klose on the other hand....


    ------

    I was only on about the season just gone I understand how good Klose usually is at club level; he wouldn't be playing for Bayern Munich otherwise.

  • Comment number 20.

    I hope he does it.

    Just two more goals.


    Good luck Klose.

  • Comment number 21.

    Two World Cups in succession we will have to watch two boreing European teams contest the World Cup final. Perhaps another nil-nil followed by penalties. The World Cup died the day Brazil and Argentina got knocked out.

  • Comment number 22.

    I think the attempt to diminish klose as a player is misguided. How many of the so-called "greats" have actually achieved anything in this world cup. ANd yet Klose who has had a poor season always manages to produce his best form when it really matters - in the world cup. In my view the great players produce when it really matters that is why I would class him as a great player. And all this nonsense about him only scoring against the weaker teams - a lot of the "great" players like Messi seemed to have trouble even doing that as well as the fact that he scored a crucial equaliser against Argentina in the last world cup as well as a brace this time and one against England. For this reason he deserves to be remembered as one of the greats and I really hope he wins the golden boot again as well as breaks the record.

  • Comment number 23.

    Two World Cups in succession we will have to watch two boreing European teams contest the World Cup final. Perhaps another nil-nil followed by penalties. The World Cup died the day Brazil and Argentina got knocked out.

    Gerard On the contrary it has come to life - there is a genuine chance that a team will lift the trophy rather than Brazil AGAIN and Argentina, well Germany completely outplayed them in a game that set the tournamentt alight as well as the Dutch's amazing second-half fight-back against Brazil. What a great tournament.

  • Comment number 24.

    @ 21:

    "The World Cup died the day Brazil and Argentina got knocked out."

    ??? Brazil rightly went out against the Dutch. They did okay but they need to take a good, hard look at themselves if they are to re-establish their superiority in time for the next WC on home soil. They tried to play like Italy (admittedly, not the Italy of 2010). Fair enough but if you copy Italy, you should at least be able to defend. Header by Wesley Sneijder. I rest my case.

    As for Argentina, to appoint a mascot as manager only works if you have someone behind who knows a thing or two about tactics (see Löw under Klinsmann in 2006), otherwise you're bound to fail at this level. Leaving the likes of Zanetti and Cambiasso at home and pinning all your hopes on one man (Messi) cost them dearly and, rightly so. They were picked to pieces by a young, unexperienced German side. On the evidence of that performance, they shouldn't even have been in the quarters.

    I remember Tim Vickery's blog about South American supremacy at this World Cup earlier in the tournament. Ridiculous. The South American teams just don't cut it at this level at the moment and when Italy and France regroup, it won't be easier for them to do any better on their own continent in four years' time.

    It is actually more difficult to win the European Championship nowadays than a World Cup and to avoid the "boring European finals" at World Cups, the South American teams need to step up a gear. I won't even mention the highly-fancied African teams - except for unlucky Ghana, they were an absolute joke.

    At least New Zealand didn't lose a single match.

  • Comment number 25.

    In my opinion the best thing about Klose is his attitude. He does not care about the golden boot or the goal scoring record. He does only care about his team and the world cup win. This attitude combined with his ability to score goals makes him an all time legend striker. And he is obviously miles ahead of stars like Rooney, Torres, Henry etc. when it comes to the big stage.

    Big respect to Klose as a player and certainly as a person.

  • Comment number 26.

    Klose is a top quality striker and I think it a little unfair that some comments say he is not in the same league as Muller and Ronaldo. At the age of 32 Klose is set to break both of their records, the footballing world hopes, where as the latter of these two for example is just a year older and long but faded into obscurity. Klose has always been a goal scorer throughout his professional career and whether it be at club or international level you can only score against the teams you face. Playing for Germany you are never going to start in a world cup group with Argentina, Holland and Italy! So what if his goals are against weaker oppossition, if it was so easy then over the years there would be a whole load of players in his position as many strikers have faced these so called weaker teams in several world cups just as Klose has. However there isn't so we should all pay testament to this man. If anything it is all the more creditable after such a poor season, by his standards, at Bayern. If Germany had played as they did in the Argentina game against our beloved England then Klose would have smashed Ronaldo's record to bits already! It will be very interesting to see where he starts next season, with Bayern being rumoured to have been prepared to let him go for free before the world cup(I hope he sticks his fingers up at them when they ask him to stay on) but will obviously now come at a price. Whether it is possible at the age of 32 to come over to England and get to grips with a game different to the one you have played your whole career I don't know BUT if he does I hope he comes to Anfield as it looks like they will need a partner for David Ngog when Torres jumps ship!

  • Comment number 27.

    I suppose there will always be those who mistake nuance & balance for denigration & criticism. To me, the blog reads like a pretty reasonable summation of an above average career with some incredible highs (usually reserved for World Cups).
    Klose is not ever going to be in the pantheon of the greatest strikers that have ever lived, but he will be remembered as one of the most successful that ever graced the World Cup. Perhaps the biggest question the article poses is;
    "Does it feel odd (crazy is the word Paul uses) that a gifted, hard working, but limited player might take a highly prized record from on of the most transcendent striking talents the world has seen?"
    The answer is probably yes (as even Klose seems to admit), but that you cannot deny that he would deserve it, particularly if his goals guide a truly exciting Germany side to another world cup victory.

  • Comment number 28.

    @dusktilldawn....spot on mate

    @Gerard....."The World Cup died the day Brazil and Argentina got knocked out."

    ....it 'died' cos Argentina couldn't defend... a 'must have' in a football match, so they didnt deserve to go any further....

    Brazil just imploded in the second half so didnt deserve to go any further either....

    The best teams won and deserved to go through...

  • Comment number 29.

    I think this blog is a fair view on Klose. He has delivered at three successive world cups, but will never be rated as a great.

    Too much emphasis is put on the number of goals scored. Sure, the holder of the world cup scoring record deserves a good deal of praise, but there's a lot more to football than just tapping (or heading, as is usually the case with Klose) the ball over the line. If we look at things from a different angle, I would suggest that we get a different picture.

    Looking back, only (I think) twice in all his world cup goals has he had to touch the ball more than once. Nobody can deny his finishing ability and composure in front of goal, but not one was from more than about 8 yards away. Would I be so wrong to suggest that a lot of credit is going to Klose for other people's work? Aside from a couple of his goals, the story is familiar: some other German player does all the hard work, finds the space, floats in a perfect cross and Klose hangs in the area ready to take the often less than challenging opportunity.

    Ronaldo may be close to having his record surpassed, but it would be an insult to use these numbers to suggest that Klose is anywhere near Rolanldo. Sure, he has the goals, but Klose has nothing of Ronaldo's skill, flare, style or ability to link up with other players and provide mutual assistance.

    For me, this is a lot of hype about a good and useful striker, but far from a great one. As I have said, credit to him for taking his chances, but if he hadn't had quite so many easy chances gifted to him in world cups by his generous team-mates, would we really be talking so much about an otherwise unremarkable player?

  • Comment number 30.

    @29 ..Garbage , how many games of his have you ever seen !! .. him tapping the ball over the line againts argentina as far as i can see for your " someone else does the work " i wonder if you have ever played the game , because being in the right place at the right time is an art form and just as hard , sure hes never going to run past 4 players and slot home like ibrahimovic or Ronaldo , but hes a striker .. i belive the english quote is "old fastioned center forward" his job is to score goals and thats what he does , his movement is truy great see the past world cup and 2002 , if your only intrested in fancy dans then i feel sorry for you ...Viel Glück klose

  • Comment number 31.

    #21 >>>The World Cup died the day Brazil and Argentina got knocked out.>>>

    And, like any good team, they had the opportunity to win and didn't. They came into the tournament as the teams to beat. Give Holland and the winner of tonight's semi the credit they deserve.

    Go Germany!

  • Comment number 32.

    "...I suppose there will always be those who mistake nuance & balance for denigration & criticism. To me, the blog reads like a pretty reasonable summation of an above average career with some incredible highs (usually reserved for World Cups)...."

    Well, this is just not true, Klose performed in Bundesliga even better then at World Cups. He was "Mr. Werder Bremen" and scored nearly every game for them during all those years, the key player of Bremen. Then Bayern Munich bought him and Bremen nearly collapsed. Only his last season was weaker cause van Gaal didnt even give him a chance to proof his talent. Olic and 35Million Flop Gomez played instead cause obviously Bayern munich dont wanna bench a 35Million man and Klose never said anything, he is the most quiete and "normal" guy you could imagine, totally not a diva and thats probably the reason why ppl dont rate him high.

    It is normal that players score against weaker opponents, in a world cup you have many weak teams. Why Rooney didnt scored against Algeria? Kaka couldnt even score against north korea.

  • Comment number 33.

    @ 29 Well, Germany have always been about a team effort. Klose always praises his teammates for their efforts.

    It is a predatory skill of the classic goal poacher to be in the right place at the right time. Gerd Müller couldn't do tricks or stepovers, but that wasn't his job. His job was to score goals and I'd take such stealthy predators over the flashy Ronaldo anytime. For a goalscorer, all that matters is scoring goals. That's his job, he's not a playmaker.

    As for saying he can't link up play, please watch the 2nd goal scored by Germany against England. I think it goes Khedira-> Müller -> Özil -> Klose -> Müller -> Podolski -> Goal. All one touch, with Klose hugging the line and with a lazy one-touch flick over to Müller.

  • Comment number 34.

    @27. "Does it feel odd (crazy is the word Paul uses) that a gifted, hard working, but limited player might take a highly prized record from on of the most transcendent striking talents the world has seen?"

    No it doesn't feel odd for a second, because hard work is normally rewarded. And the one of the most transcedent striking talents 4 years ago looked at least 10 kilograms overweight when his was desperately trying to catch up with the ball rolling just in front of him in one particlular game against Australia.

  • Comment number 35.

    Total legend - Like heskey he has sat on the bench all year but come the crunch bammm goals, goals, goals!!!! 100%respect for klose - is crouch our klose in disguise?????

  • Comment number 36.

    I wonder if players like Klose who shine in the big tournaments do so because they've saved their best for their country? They know their limits and reserves better than anyone, and have ensured (and in doing so, made their own individual 'club vs country' decision) they have kept some powder dry for international duty? Does it work like that? Can't imagine Rooney managing it with Ferguson on his case, maybe that's why he looked like a spent force in South Africa.

  • Comment number 37.

    I dont get this at all. Surely Klose can only score goals against teams he faces in any given WC?

    And if he only scores goals against inferior opposition then that must include England. So what is it? Is England an inferior team or did Klose score against world class opposition?

    What about Argentina? I hope he scores 2 more in this WC and becomes the top scorer ever. Noone will beat his record for a long time.

    And it will probably annoy the english to know it is a German who tops the list!

  • Comment number 38.

    Prior to reading this blog and following comments, I had no idea what sort of opposition Klose or Ronaldo had scored against, but was aware of the fact the German has scored 14 World Cup goals, and Ronaldo, 15. This is what matters, not the teams those goals were scored against. Klose can only scored against who he is played, as can Ronaldo, and as some people have quite rightly pointed out, the Brazilian has scored against ridiculously weak teams as well. Are we actually saying scoring 3 goals against China is worth 1 against Brazil or Argentina? A goal is a goal no matter who it is scored against.

    Ronaldo was also playing for one of the most talented teams in the world at the time, and as a striker would have relied a lot on the midfield to gift him with chances. Klose works harder than any other player I have seen for a long time, and although he may not be first on peoples lists as being the best striker in the world, anyone who can score 14 goals at World Cups - the biggest sporting stage in the world - obviously deserves a lot of respect.

    If we are going to start comparing international careers to club careers, then where do we start? Wayne Rooney, for one? Portugals Ronaldo? Steven Gerrard? Lionel Messi? Wayne Rooney scored so many goals last season and ultimately failed to do anything in the World Cup. Ronaldo never performs for Portugal and Gerrard has once again failed to show the form that he churns out every game for Liverpool. Playing for club and playing for country are two completely different things and this blog fails to recognise and underline this fact.

    If anything, if we want to scrutinise players for scoring against weak opposition, it makes more sense to go to club level games and pick apart the opponents. How many world class players play for the other 19 teams in a league? In England we have the top 4 plus another 2 or at a stretch 3 decent teams which will have top quality players. Other than those teams the rest of the league has average teams, made up of a mixture of hard-working players with decent work ethic, with some focused on a mid-table finish and others desperately trying to avoid relegation. Straight away there is a huge difference in who you are playing against. Different teams will play for different outcomes and will have a hugely different impact on the game. The time of the season at which they will be played will affect the play also. The fact is, when at the World Cup, everyone knows their time is limited and there is no Plan B, its now or never. This will definitely change the way the game is played and how many goals are scored.

    Klose has stepped up and scored the goals that count, when hes been called upon. Forlan and Villa have both also been prolific, but Klose is 2 goals away from being all time top goal scorer at the World Cup, so I'm pretty sure he deserves the credit. If Ronaldo is so worthy of being top goalscorer (especially as he has scored against teams such as Morocco, China etc...) then anyone who can surpass him is deserving of the highest plaudits.

  • Comment number 39.

    Me v Paul The Octopus:
    http://nonleaguematters.co.uk/forum/gforum.cgi?post=257423;session=57686aab061002d43d826bc6eb3cfd61#257423
    http://giffas.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=qsc&action=display&thread=312

    I'm not usually into predicting outcomes of matches, but despair at the quality of punditry everywhere led me to give it a go on another forum before the World Cup quarterfinals - http://nonleaguematters.co.uk/forum/gforum.cgi?post=256177#256177

    I've 5 for 5 so far for the quarterfinals and the first semifinal, and I have Germany to beat Spain in today's semifinal, but Paul The Octopus, who is 5 for 5 in predicting the outcome of Germany's games so far this World Cup, has gone for Spain - http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/europe/10521867.stm

    Paul got the the result of Germany v Spain at Euro 2008 wrong - maybe it's his bogey fixture.

  • Comment number 40.

    @ 29

    Looking back, only (I think) twice in all his world cup goals has he had to touch the ball more than once. Nobody can deny his finishing ability and composure in front of goal, but not one was from more than about 8 yards away. Would I be so wrong to suggest that a lot of credit is going to Klose for other people's work? Aside from a couple of his goals, the story is familiar: some other German player does all the hard work, finds the space, floats in a perfect cross and Klose hangs in the area ready to take the often less than challenging opportunity.


    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Judging from what you have said - YOU dont play football. Why do you think it looks like Klose's chances are easy? Why does it look like he finishes someone elses hard work?

    Its because he is an excellent player who knows where to be in order to score. He knows how to make space for himself.

    You have quite clearly proved that you think "skill, flare, style" is what makes a footballer great. You also think that Ronaldo had the "ability to link up with other players and provide mutual assistance". I very much doubt if you know what you are talking about.

    Sounds to me like you watch football for the step overs and dont actually know how to play the game yourself.

    Look at replays of Klose's 1st goal against Argentina, observe the movement of a striker who knows what he is doing in order to gain space, beat his defender and stay onside in a split second.

    Again - I hope he gets 16 goals.


  • Comment number 41.

    I guess Klose has scored goals at World Cups against weaker teams. But then so has Wayne Rooney who scored a hatful against USA, Algeria and Slovenia. Oh, correction, he scored zero, zilch, nada!

  • Comment number 42.

    I am very disappointed that this article actually try's to diminish Klose's achievement. Just compare this one,

    Klose 357 match 157 goals, A goal in every 2.27 match
    Rooney 106 goals in 256 match, goal in every 2.4 match

    Now, can you call Rooney is not great because his club scoring form is poorer compared to Klose? Scoring in 3 world cups, getting golden boot in one, taking Germany to the world cup Final once, semi final twice, what more can you ask for? .

    Can you please tell me what Klose should do to be called a great?

  • Comment number 43.

    This is a terrible blog.
    This man has scored 14 goals in three world cup finals,and he still has a chance to play two more matches in the current tournament!
    Please show respect to whom respect is due.
    If ANY English player had achieved half what Klose has achieved you would be using the term "world class" to describe them.
    The standard of journalism on this forum keeps falling every day.
    Dreadful article.

  • Comment number 44.

    @ No 42

    Can you please tell me what Klose should do to be called a great?

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------


    The problem is that he is German. The english hate to admit that he is a great goalscorer.

    A great goalscorer who exposed some serious flaws in that 'World Class' defence of theirs!

  • Comment number 45.

    Oh look a Scot critical of England - whats new??!!

    At least we had a team at the world cup.

  • Comment number 46.

    How can anyone criticise Klose's workrate away from the goalmouth? Crazy. What next? Shall we take apart Gary Linekers career ? Klose has had good domestic seasons as well as not so good, but I know of no-one here who would deny his credentials as part of the National Team. The emphasis here is on Team. Listen to Loew nad his comments about Klose's place in the system and his training ethos.

    Go Germany for the Final!!

  • Comment number 47.

    @ 45

    Oh look a Scot critical of England - whats new??!!

    At least we had a team at the world cup.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    You can call them a team if you wish - the rest of the world will call them a joke.

    I'm critical because it was forced down my throat that they were going to win it. Looks like 47 years of hurt now at least....

    Anyway the point I was making was this english journalist here refusing to give Klose the credit he deserves for being a great goalscorer who has consistently performed at the highest level.

    I cant think of any other reason for refusing credit to Klose than the fact that he is German.

    What are your thoughts unounos?

  • Comment number 48.

    #1

    I'm astonished that you would select Rooney ahead of Klose, but Defoe? How can you possibly suggest that both Defoe and Rooney are superior to Klose? Do you have some hidden stats that no one has seen?

    I hope Klose gets two more goals this tournament (against the Spanish, not the Dutch) and is crowned the greatest ever World Cup striker. He is the perfect tournament striker and should be the first name on the team sheet for any national side.

    If his style and record were identical, but he played for Brazil, Spain or England; he would be revered as 'World Class' and always touted as a potential player of the tournament.

    Were I the manager of a national side and Klose was available, I would select him ahead of Rooney, Van Persie, Villa, Torres, Luis Fabiano, C Ronaldo, Higuain and yes even Lionel Messi. The reason? He scores goals, more than the others and despite the team he is in.

    He is the perfect striker.

  • Comment number 49.

    Another post that could surely have been written from the UK. It's nice to see licence payers money ensuring numerous BBC "bloggers" enjoy a 5 week holiday in South Africa. No doubt 5 star accomodation and all expenses picked up by Auntie.

  • Comment number 50.

    Klose's is the 'enigma code' of German International football that the opposition - try as they might - have failed to crack. Never a prolific club scorer, but typically efficient once in a German jersey. Maybe his secret is to go in so underated, teams prefer to concentrate on the German supply line of Podolski and Ozil?

    An old fashioned type centre-forward, not flashy or a trickster like Messi or Ronaldo but an 'always in the right place' marksman. Modern 'international' forwards like Rooney are expected to be able to do the lot and sadly in trying to do so often end up chasing their tails. Miroslav 'types' wait for the game to come to them just like a sniper.

    The 'Klose'st equivalent England poscess is strangely enough Peter Crouch..ignored by coaches and the oppostion, unfancied by the general public (Abbey Clancy apart), but maintains an excellent scoring record when it matters most (as Abbey Clancy proves ;)!

  • Comment number 51.

    What an unbelievably awful blog! The man has delivered time after time after time, and yet he is just a good player. Yet Rooney, who has consistently failed to deliver in every one of his WC's, is world class? Or Messi? Or C. Ronaldo?

    Once those wannabes start delivering, then they can talk about world class. Until then, lets just enjoy seeing truly great players delivering on the biggest stage.

    And instead of highlighting this, the writer simply plays up to the ignorance! Incredible.

    And another thing, this guy is at the twilight of his career. He's supposed to be on the way down now. The other, younger, hungrier players are supposed to be showing him the door. Staking their claim to be the next big thing. And still this guy just goes about his thing, getting the job done while they throw hissy fits at the ref or the fans or their team mates.

  • Comment number 52.

    So. How do we decide what makes a really great striker at international level?

    How long he lasts (Klose 3 world cups - Ronaldo meanwhile got pampered, fat and lazy)

    How many goals he scores (14 and counting)

    Does his team win the WC or get very close (like Cruyff)? (final 2002, semi 2006, ?? 2010)

    Is he crucial to them winning it? ie when does he score? Klose's goal gainst england was crucial, his first against argentina likewise. If he gets any more at all, he had to be a legend.

    Klose, like amost all other german players is not given the credit he deserves, partly because of unspoken prejudice against germans in this country and partly because he is so modest. Every time Ronaldo, Rooney, even Villa scores both player and commentator act like its the second coming of the messiah (honourable exception to Messi). The germans meanwhile, behave as though they are doing their job as well as they can. Then they get called arrogant!

    We can safely assume the klose and co didnt go on the german "james corden's world cup live" before they had achieved anything.

  • Comment number 53.

    Because of the way the World Cup finals are structured, top teams meet poor or average teams along the way. It figures, therefore, that top strikers are going to have some gift opportunities and everyone who has scored a significant number of goals in the finals will have scored a few against the easier opposition. This should not detract from their achievement.

    Klose has been a top striker for many years and has probably been wasted or under-utilised at Bayern Munich recently, in the same way that Tevez and Forlan were not achieving to their potential at MUFC.


    In many ways, he is an "English" style centre forward and would probably have flourished in the Premiership but for one important fact - he does score against unfancied sides, unlike the current crop of England strikers. (Crouch excluded who seems also to possess the ability to score for the national side against minnows! That's why Capello doesn't play him - don't want to spoil tradition)

  • Comment number 54.

    He's a good striker who fits the German style of quick counter attacks. His club form is baffling but maybe he only gets motivated, or gets in form, when he plays for his country.

    With regard to ramming things down people's throats, the irony is that the Scots do it whenever they do well - which is not very often. Every nation does it when they hope their side does well but its the proverbial chip the Scots have on their shoulder that means they will have a go at the English whenever they get the chance, whether we win or lose.

  • Comment number 55.

    Pual, in the end, what matters is respect of whichever team/country participates at every stage including the world cup. Weak opposition or not is not the question. The point is how does the person in front of the goal do his job? Do you expect Klose to be in every part of the field i.e. at the goal, defend, midfield and attack as well? Noooo! I wish you revisit the record and see how Ronaldo achieved whatever he did? He was always in the opposition's half and not deep in his own searching for the ball. For me Klose is a LEGEND and I just hope and pray that he goes ahead to break the record and we can one day say Klose's record is the target for the strikers of the day.

  • Comment number 56.

    Why oh why do people not read the whole article? This was a pretty balanced blog saying that Klose was good but not great - surely most agree with that? Then he stated he turns it on at the World Cup and for that reason he should be heralded. Yet most people come on here to slate a perfectly good piece because he may have insinuated he's not as good as Ronaldo. Well is he?

    Grrrrr....

  • Comment number 57.

    The best players score in the biggest games. Klose certainly falls into that bracket. He was the top scorer at the last 2 world cups and he's ony 32, how could anyone have doubtd him?

    As for last season at Bayern: form is temporary, class is permanent.

  • Comment number 58.

    #1 - Klose is a great player. End of.

    #2 - This debate could all be irrelevant in the near enough future. Thomss Mueller is only 20 and has 4 world cup goals so far. If Germany get to the final then I'd see him getting at least one more. If he stays fit then he could well have 3 more world cups in him. If he can do a Roger Millar then he'd manage 5 more world cups!!! And if Germany continue to play this style of football then he'll do quite well.

  • Comment number 59.

    Barry sanders. Let's suppose I'm an idiot. Is Ronaldo better than Klose? If Klose scores and wins the world cup for germany, is ronaldo still better? if so, why?

  • Comment number 60.

    24-Real da Madrid, 28-Andyhammers 23, & 31- Vanhunks, While I am not disputing Germany has played breathtaking football at times and the that klose is a great striker ( his record speaks for itself ) Brazil and Argentina bring something to world football that the European teams don’t. The 2006 world cup final was a non event as European teams usually tend to cancel each other out. This is not the Dutch team of 74 & 78 and had Brazil been a bit more clinical up front in the first half could have been 4-0 up . I admit that Brazil, a team unbeaten for almost four years imploded after conceding a freak equaliser and were beaten by two set pieces. Argentina on the other hand made errors in selection. Had the hardened defenders Zenetti and Cambiaso been playing and had Walter Samuel not been injured the outcome would have been different. Had they a playmaker like Riqelme to service three world class strikers the result against Germany could have been in reverse. Spain struggled against Switzerland and could have been knocked out by Paraquay. Holland progressed courtesy of two free kicks against Brazil and an offside goal against Uruguay . Germany played a poor England and a tactically naive Maradona managed Argentina. Ask anybody in North and South America, Africa and Asia which team they support after their own country the answer will always be either Brazil or Argentina. In fact despite who wins the world cup (the title should be changed to world cup winners and not world Champions if not won by Brazil) FIFA rankings come September 2010 will have Brazil at number one.

  • Comment number 61.

    To change tack a little, seeing Klose's success in the World Cup has made me wonder if there is a case for giving Michael Owen another chance for England? He is two years younger than Klose, knows where the goal is and can perform at big tournaments (though not as consistently). That scoring "nous" is something not many people are blessed with.

  • Comment number 62.

    Im absolutely shocked at the lack of respect shown to players like Klose from English fans. Too many fans watch the English league and close their mind off to any other players being any good when in theory they are better than the English players.

    1. You can only score aginst the opposition in front of u.
    2. Klose just scored goals against Argentina & England
    3. 14 goals in 3 world cups is immense, how many has Rooney gort in 2 world cups? Look at the teams Rooney failed to score against USA, Algeria, Slovenia . . . . and yet he is considered world class . . not sure why.

    Klose is prolific, he scores goals and there are no excuses unlike Rooney and Co. He has done consistently for 10 years and yet everyone focuses on last season.

    I would rather all the German 11 before the English 11, no exceptions.

  • Comment number 63.

    gerard, I admire your loyalty to the "south american giants". However, I think you'll find there are more holes in your argument than a string vest.

    1. It's fairly well known that many, perhaps most africans in this world cup were supporting ghana, not Arg or Braz

    2. You seem to suggest that Brazil are "world champions" as of right. Shall we then just make Man Utd permanent champions of England because more people round the world support them? And Bayern could be permanent German champions because after all they are more famous than the other teams..

    3. Let me get it straight about Argentina - had they had four different players in their team they might have beaten germany 4-0?? i think thats what you're suggesting

    That fact is, Argentina have never looked like winning the world cup since maradona was around. In fact, their world cup record is hardly better than englands, which is embarrassing for a "south american giant" that everyone supports, dont you think?

  • Comment number 64.

    Give me KLose over any English player because his goals speak for themselves!
    He is not your Iconic super star and that makes him even more likeable as opposed to Rooney and company!

  • Comment number 65.

    I do not see why people try bringing up who he scored against as an argument. IF Rooney had scored against Algeria, Slovakia and the U.S we'd be talking about the world's most lethal striker.

    Likewise, Messi and Argentina didnt come up against the toughest opposition in this world cup, yet Klose is consistently banging them in against everyone but because he is unfashionable he will never be rated as a great.

    As we are nitpicking through the quality of opposition etc. why not just judge strikers etc on the goals they score against the Top 4 in the Premiership from now on. Penalties should no longer count or goals inseide 8 yards.

    This guy is a great striker FACT!! The numbers just don't lie. He is now 32 and hitting the back end of his career so he can be excused a bad season. Its amazing that even though he is so "one-dimensional" that so many defenders still struggle with him.

    He won't be rated with Ronaldo because he's a two time world footballer of the year winner (I think). But just because he is German, has played in Germany all his career and this reporter has done 15 minutes research on him doesnt mean he cant be considered a great.

  • Comment number 66.

    Overall it's a positive article, which is good to see as Klose has had a lot of detractors over the years, but there are some inexcusable flaws.

    Every striker in the world will score the bulk of their goals against weak opposition, so that can hardly be a valid criticism of anyone. His domestic career has not been a "mixed bag". He has consistently made double figures in his time - at three different clubs - and if you're going to point out his three league goals last season, then you must also mention his 25 league goals in 26 games from 2005/06.

    Paul #9 - "However, I have heard countless arguments suggesting that Klose is something of a once every four season wonder, who turns up at World Cups but fails to deliver consistently enough at club level."

    Then you've heard wrong, and as a sports journalist you should be doing your own research rather than listening to tired, lazy clichés from people who obviously don't know what they're talking about. Again, just look at his form going into the 2006 World Cup - does that strike you as a man who turned up having not been consistent beforehand?

    You mention that all of his goals at the 2002 World Cup were headers, as if this somehow proves a point? That was a lazy criticism made of him eight years ago, which has been put to bed numerous times since. To bring it up now - after having scored just 2 of the his 9 most recent World Cup goals with headers - is criminal.

  • Comment number 67.

    With regard to ramming things down people's throats, the irony is that the Scots do it whenever they do well - which is not very often. Every nation does it when they hope their side does well but its the proverbial chip the Scots have on their shoulder that means they will have a go at the English whenever they get the chance, whether we win or lose.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    "The Scots do it whenever they do well" according to you. Correct this does not happen very often.

    There is a big difference though - English do it BEFORE the competition even starts!

    Dont try and cover your countries horrible arrogance by saying "Every nation does it". That does not excuse anything.

    And your statement isnt even true. The Germans didnt expect to even get this far in this WC before it started, they set a plan a few years ago and didnt expect to see great results yet. Read Klinsmans article!

    I can assure you mate that the Scottish people would be far less vocal about england if the english press & players were a little more realistic and humble about their chances prior to entering major tournaments.

    I heard lampard in an interview saying "We are quite rightly in the top 4 favourites to win it" before the WC started. And then they go out and utterly embarrass themselves.

    See my point?

  • Comment number 68.

    Goals count, scored with your rear end or your head, against Argentina or Andorra, Klose is Closer but he might not get nearer. Spain to grind it out tonight.

  • Comment number 69.

    Is quite funny reading all of this the reason being most people are not liking the bloke is pure and simple ...... He's German. FACT

  • Comment number 70.

    Klose has a better club scoring record than Rooney.
    Klose has a MUCH better WC scoring record than Rooney.
    Does that make him a better striker than Rooney?

    Er, yes.

    Klose is one of the best who has ever been. World class all day long. Better than Shearer by a country mile. The only English striker of the recent past who compares is Lineker.

    Klose is on a par with Ronaldo and Gerd Muller, who usually played in much better teams than Klose.

    Arguing against this in the face of overwhelming statistical evidence is just ridiculous.

  • Comment number 71.

    Now then,

    Many thanks, as always, for all your comments. Certainly a lively debate.

    Reading through the comments I must admit that I think, to an extent, I have failed with this article.

    My intention was to pay tribute to the World Cup scoring exploits of Klose. The man has scored 52 international goals and 14 World Cup goals in 19 appearances. How good is that?

    His detractors point to some of the opposition he has scored against and the fact that a fair old chunk of his WC goals have been headers.

    I thought I had illustrated that he is not a one-dimensional striker, taking as an example his goal against England, and managed to ask Joachim Loew a question to bolster the point about how professional he is and how important to the German team.

    In a quote that did not make the article (never want to go on too long) Loew talked about Klose's ability to find the net at important times - using the winner, indeed the only goal of the game, that Klose scored in Russia during qualifying.

  • Comment number 72.

    @ 69

    Is quite funny reading all of this the reason being most people are not liking the bloke is pure and simple ...... He's German. FACT


    -------------------------------

    I totally agree - If this guy was English they would be going crazy about him!

  • Comment number 73.

    Also, I don't like the idea that I was comparing Klose to Ronaldo. It was Klose himself who explained that he did not think he would ever get close to Ronaldo's total.

    And to suggest that somehow Klose is being put down in the article because he is German and not English - I just cannot accept that. I haven't written a single article about England at this World Cup and I am not going to. However, four years ago I wrote plenty about how much I enjoyed the World Cup in Germany and the hospitality of the German people in particular.

    When my young son is old enough he will be going on a driving holiday around Germany whether he wants to or not, while his old man bores him to death about visiting this place and that.

    The place where I bought 'bacon beer' will definitely be included.

  • Comment number 74.

    60. gerard wrote:
    Brazil and Argentina bring something to world football that the European teams don’t.
    ___________________

    I disagree. They sometimes do, sometimes don't, depending on the individual players, the systems they play, and other factors. To fetishize them they way you do makes no sense. You probably also believe genius Brazilian players are just found playing on the street in poor neighborhoods, rather than created by the most advanced (hard-nosed, scientific) footballing establishment in the world.

    This time around, both Arg and Bra were mediocre.

    Brazil were quite boring due to Dunga's defensive system. Attack-wise, they couldn't even break down N.Korea (one freak goal, otherwise 1:1), and Portugal showed how to cancel them out. Brazil lost to a better side on the day. They are not missed.

    Argentina were good in attack, but a defensive disaster waiting to happen from day one. They got what they deserved for picking a clown as manager. One got the feeling that they simply did not treat the World Cup with the respect it deserved, by picking Maradona, who looks and acts like he would need help dressing himself, never mind managing a top football side. Good riddance.

    The only team that brought anything different this time was Germany. That in itself is remarkable.

    The FIFA rankings are dodgy, we all know that.
    If Brazil will still be No 1 after this WC, then they are wrong, plain and simple.

    I repeat: It is the rankings that are wrong, not the outcome of this tournament, or the title of world champion that is earned by the winner.

  • Comment number 75.

    'I can assure you mate that the Scottish people would be far less vocal about england if the english press & players were a little more realistic and humble about their chances prior to entering major tournaments.'

    No I can assure you that the Scottish people will have a go at the English whether we say anything or not. You lot have such a chip on your shoulder about us and can't let it go. It salways have a go at the English regardless of what happens, what the papers say etc... Even your national anthem is about a battle with us centuries ago. Scotland needs to grow up.

  • Comment number 76.

    ok i can't disagree that he won't be mentioned in the same breath as Maradona, Cruyff, Pele , Ronaldo etc but as a goal poacher and taker of chances he's proved he's as good as anyone theres ever been at the World Level. I guess the closest England have come to it is Gary Linekar (was it 10 goals in 2 world cup ?)
    And I'm still not sure what you have against the number of headed goals he has scored ! What does that have to do with anything ...........is it easier to score a headed goal than one with the feet ?
    As bad as the ridiculous arguement about the quality of opposition . All the top scorers at world cups have scored goals against good and bad teams .
    Go for Mr Klose ..hope you break the record tonight .

  • Comment number 77.

    paul

    I think you've been hard done by. Though. You did pay tribute to klose in the world cup, but you felt obliged to balance that with comments about cynics' views etc. Would you feel similarly obliged to point out that neither cristiano ronaldo, nor rooney have ever really performed in a vital international match, for club or country?

    The problem is that German players are underrated at EVERY world cup (possibly except 1990) and that people (and not only the English) begrudge the Germans any success, as if winning the world cup might cause them to annex the Sudetenland or something

    Gerard - you haven't answered my points. Germany battered argentina, they made them look as bad as Australia and worse than england. Why would we want a side like that in the later stages of the world cup?

  • Comment number 78.

    In the abscence of England I supported Spain at Eiro 2008, but I actually want Germany to win tonight. They have been the best team so far this tournament, their pacey attacks are some sight!

    I do hope Klose doesn't break the scoring record though! Ronaldo was a fantastic player, the best in the world for a while, and Klose is only a good player.

  • Comment number 79.

    I'm sorry, but NOBODY who scores 14 world cup goals is "only a good player"!

  • Comment number 80.

    @48:
    "#1

    I'm astonished that you would select Rooney ahead of Klose, but Defoe? How can you possibly suggest that both Defoe and Rooney are superior to Klose? Do you have some hidden stats that no one has seen?"

    Heh, no, it's not because I have access to any 'hidden stats' - I just think Rooney is a better player. Sure, he's not really done it at international level in a World Cup yet, but he has decent reasons/excuses for that: he wasn't match fit in '06 at least, and possibly not in '10 either. Even if he was, he had crap ammunition thanks to his team mates. As for Defoe, I did say that was a definite maybe, depending on the kind of striker I would want to play in a particular game. Klose is a good player, and a great goalscorer, but he's not as quick as Defoe. On the other hand, he is better in the air and a better target man/hold up player. *shrugs*

  • Comment number 81.

    I think a number of people on here just haven't bothered to read properly what has been written and then start going "off on one" at some perceived slight to their favourite player. The laziness of the spelling and grammar goes hand in hand with the laziness of their replies.

    #42 you need to work on your maths...

    Klose 357 match 157 goals, A goal in every 2.27 match
    Rooney 106 goals in 256 match, goal in every 2.4 match

    Rooney's average, based on your figures above, is actually 0.41 goals per match, but your logic above you're actually saying Rooney is better while saying he isn't. You start by saying that the blog is an attempt to diminish Klose's achievement, but if you try reading through the whole article you will find it doesn't.

    People are always banging on about respect in football (and in the wider world) but perhaps they should some respect and read an article fully before criticising someone else for a perceived lack of respect. Its very tiresome when people write a load of hyperbole and nonsense rather than put forward a reasoned argument based on the facts.

    If you can manage to type in English (or something close to it - no pun intended), surely you can read English as well?

  • Comment number 82.

    Paul, I highly enjoyed your article. I understand that one should balance an article about any player.

    That apart, I feel the biggest reason that Klose has done so well consistently is the same reason Germany does so well at the biggest stage of them all consistently: Team work and the never-say-die attitude. And that should count towards his greatness too.

    The overwhelmingly mediocre team of 2002 scraped its way to the final, with 1-0 victories against Paraguay, the USA and South Korea. Yet they did it. Michael Ballack, another star of that campaign, sacrificed himself in the semis against South Korea by carrying out a tactical foul to stop a sureshot goal chance for the Koreans. As a result, he got his 2nd yellow card, knowing full well that his team would miss him in the eventual final. And what did he do? He got up, brushed himself and went on to score the goal that put Germany into the final. Other such examples are Thomas Müller's recent yellow against Argentina. He went on to play the important pass that led to the 2-0. Or Klose accepting his red card, however unfair, without argument and coming back to score against England and Argentina.

    My question is, would Ronaldo (both of them), Rooney, Messi, (insert superstar name here) do that? Would they sacrifice themselves for the sake of the team? Or accept unfair decisions and carry on with the job? I think those attributes that German players have should count a lot towards their greatness, in addition to performing step overs and what not.

    As far as I can see, the Germans have played perhaps the fairest at this tournament, without the diving, whining, tantrums and ego-centric antics of the 'stars'.

  • Comment number 83.

    Today i get to know that Ozil is only worth 20 million while Milner 25 (BBC). Now you know why English football is down the drain.

  • Comment number 84.

    unounos,


    O Lord, our God, arise,
    Scatter her enemies,
    And make them fall.
    Confound their politics,
    Frustrate their knavish tricks,
    On Thee our hopes we fix,
    God save us all.

    2nd verse to the dirge that is our national anthem. Don't mention it.

    BTW, Germany 14/1 with £20 from the start. Luvverly...

  • Comment number 85.

    #83 you shouldn't take newspaper gossip as the gospel truth. Until either signing has been made you can't be sure what valuations will be placed on them. Also, a product is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it.

  • Comment number 86.

    RE 73: I don't think anyone is giving out about your opinion about Germans , I thinks it's the contributors, but I am sorry, If you are going to drink Bacon Beer......Well some things should not be tolerated and that is one of them :-)

  • Comment number 87.

    Surrey bloke

    People are always banging on about respect in football (and in the wider world) but perhaps they should some respect and read an article fully before criticising someone else for a perceived lack of respect.


    Sorry, verb missing here. Do try to keep it grammatically correct

  • Comment number 88.

    Miroslav Klose

    Another great major tournament mate.
    You just can't stop scoring goals can you!?
    Keep it up!

  • Comment number 89.

    #87 thank you kindly.

  • Comment number 90.

    All very well saying Miro's got a lot of goals against weak opposition but all forwards will get chances to play against lesser teams at some point. There's a lot more to his game than just goals too.

  • Comment number 91.

    #81 Foot...Large elephant gun... aim...fire.

    Congrats on the most ludicrous mistake of an attempted put down seen in a long time.

    Read it,(properly) & weep.

  • Comment number 92.

    I am sorry to see that so few people know their world cup history! Ronaldo's tally at 15 is a lot less impressive than Kloses at 14! Most arguements just dont stand up against the statistics!

    The Goals:

    Klose: Saudi Arabia (3), Ireland (1), Cameroon (1), Costa Rica (2), Ecuador (2), Argentina (3), England (1), Australia (1)

    Scored all 14 goals from open play (himself).
    Goals against "Big" Nations (reached a WC Final): 4 goals (FMR. Champs England & Argentina)

    Ronaldo: Morocco (1), Chile (2) 1xPENALTY, Netherlands (1), Turkey (2), China (1), Costa Rica (2) 1x clear own goal!!, Germany (2), Japan (2), Ghana (1)


    Scored 13 goals from open play + 1 Penalty and + 1 goal that never was his!
    Goals scored against "Big" Nations (reached a WC Final): 3 (Finalist Netherlands and FMR Champs Germany)

    NOTE: BOTH PLAYERS SCORED A LOT OF TAP IN's

    This would suggest to me that Klose is already on the same tally as Ronaldo and Ronaldo has taken a penalty!

    Furthermore, it was a sad sight seeing the all time Gerd Mueller record beaten by a fat and slow Ronaldo in 2006 who was clearly only in the side to give him an opportunity to beat the record rather than the virtue of his skill and fitness that year by comparison to his team mates!

    It was previously illustrated that Klose over his long career relativ to Rooney has a higher strike rate with a difference of .17 goals per game I believe. I can't understand the arguement nor the article, it shows the type of ignorance and short-sightedness the BBC's sport coverage is becoming known for! Just look at the difference in vocabulary used in commentary in an Argentina game which was won by a high margin vs. that of a Germany side that was won by a high margin!

    The seething hatred and jealousy toward the German's is so thinly veiled that anyone but a deaf man should be able to hear it!

    Furthermore, it is ok mentioning that Germany has a lot of so called "foreign players" most of whom are born in Germany and lived there their entire lives or have at least one german parent (except Cacau)....yet they are referred to as Turkish, Ghanean or Tunisian.

    Yet if you watch any other nation this seems to be conveniently fogotten or have you ever heard of Zidane the Algerian Makelele the Congolese or Desailly the Ghanean when watching football? Even players who have German parents, were born in Germany and have played for the German youth teams (and didn't make the German cut and thus changed allegiance to other countries), such as K.P. Boateng (Ghana) or E.M. Choupo-Moting (Cameroon) are never referred to as German. Boateng was great for Ghana but did you ever hear anyone saying that this was the product of German training or that Boateng finished against the US with German efficiency?

    I spent a lot of time in South Africa during this world cup and the BBC is not alone in this...These facts were conveniently overseen by the South African media as well, while they habitually referred to the German team as multicultural and including "foreign players".

    It is saddening that in this day and age this type of bigotry is so pervasive and partially tax payer sponsored as it is on the BBC.

    The message really is, don't be racist or bigoted unless its against the Germans!


  • Comment number 93.

    Anyone who thinks Klose is even comparable with Ronaldo must be having a laugh! You're comparing a striker, who admittedly performed well at world cups but done nothing at club level, with one of the best players of all time, whose career was unfortunately blighted by two or three serious knee injuries, the result of being forced to play because of pressure by sponsors when he was still injured and his body was still developing.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GqlP59AeAXA

  • Comment number 94.

    #73 Paul wrote: 'bacon beer' will definitely be included

    ...mmmm bacon bear - huh...urggh, yuk! Maybe that's Klose's secret? Enigma code cracked!

    Like the graphics with the quotes on them - all your own work Paul?

  • Comment number 95.

    It's weird even after the umpteenth time when sportsmen bring gods into their pastimes.

  • Comment number 96.

    87. At 12:48pm on 07 Jul 2010, tork wrote:

    Surrey bloke

    People are always banging on about respect in football (and in the wider world) but perhaps they should some respect and read an article fully before criticising someone else for a perceived lack of respect.


    Sorry, verb missing here. Do try to keep it grammatically correct

    - Where is that full stop, tork?

  • Comment number 97.

    hahaha...some of the comments smack of jealous.Lets give it to Klose, he has been great. Rooney could not score against , USA, SLovenia and Algeria and these can be classified as "inferior opposition" to use the term used to refer to other teams. forget rooney, messi , ronal, kaka etct, the world cup is the real deal and the biggest stage of them all. SOme of the players being labelled as great have crumbled under pressure or weight of expectations as has been reported.So please give Klose the respect he deserves. He has stood up to be counted where the "mighty" have fallen..

  • Comment number 98.

    Lee - aware of it, except the differance is that we don't use the other versus when God Save the Queen is played at sporting events.

    Flower of Scotland on other hand goes on and on about how they beat King Edwards army in every single verse.

  • Comment number 99.

    Re: unounos & AScottishGooner

    I have to agree with ScottishGooner, if Klose was English there would be a statue of the guy next to Nelson and calls for him to be knighted. He is quite simply the best striker at the tournament and is poorly managed at Bayern. He would do very well in the Premier League.

    unounos, i'm an Englishman and even I get annoyed at the ridiculous hype and continual references to 1966, then there are the tabloid war references which are just ridiculous. If I were Scottish I too would be incensed at the media bombardment prior to and during big tournaments.

    In my opinion Klose will win the golden boot and lift the world cup. If that happens then I hope we applaud the way he/they have played.

  • Comment number 100.

    #91 you might want to try reading what I said in its entirety. The mention of spelling and grammar was an aside to people not reading the blog in full about Klose before commenting. A missed word is different to consistently bad spelling and grammar, even if it did undermine me somewhat. I'll let other people judge whether what I wrote was ludicrous or not albeit you are focussing on merely one part of what I wrote - in a rather rude way.

    #81 Foot...Large elephant gun... aim...fire.

    Congrats on the most ludicrous mistake of an attempted put down seen in a long time.

    Read it,(properly) & weep.

 

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