Five things you never knew about Germany’s Miroslav Klose

4/12/2013
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Age can be deceiving, especially if you’re 35-year-old Miroslav Klose, attempting to surpass the international goalscoring record of Gerd Muller for Germany later on Tuesday night.

The opposition, in the shape of the Faroe Islands, ranked a lowly 175 in the FIFA world rankings, could not be much easier for the German striker to some shine to his already outstanding international record.

Klose has, like Muller, 68 goals for Die Mannschaft, but can claim the record for himself with a striker in tonight's World Cup qualifier in the Faroe capital, Torshavn.

But here’s perhaps five things you might not have known about the Polish-born striker.

He trained as a carpenter before moving to Kaiserslautern at the age of 20:

The striker wasn’t developed in a modern-day Bundesliga academy. In fact, he learned his trade part-time where men became men: the regional divisions.

After training with SG-Blaubach Diedelkopf in his local region, he moved to former Bundesliga side FC Homburg, in a stay that lasted less than six months.

Kaiserslautern, German champions in ’98, came calling for Klose; an impressive conquest for a mainly amateur footballer who had already gone through his apprenticeship to become a carpenter.

He tells RP-Online: “The images I see before my eyes. I had to work out everything myself. Therefore, it is not difficult for me to motivate myself.

"I have learned a trade and know how hard it is to work as a carpenter on a construction site, to get up at five and eight only to come home.

“Today I have fun all day. It is a dream, something very special to be a footballer.”

Despite having never been to Poland pre-2012, Klose speaks Polish every day at home:

Born in Poland to Polish parents, you’d be forgiven for wondering why Klose opted to play for Germany. In his own words, he’s “a European” having moved to his adopted homeland at the age of eight.

But with his Polish wife and two children, Klose speaks Polish on the telephone every morning and that’s his language of choice at home. Pre-2012, Klose had never been to Warsaw and only been back to Poland on a handful of occasions.

That time when Klose had his own surprise initiation into the cauldron of the Rome derby:

Lazio against Roma is one of the biggest derbies in the European football calendar, combining passion, drama and more often than not, violence.

He said in 2010: “Before I came here, I had never seen a postman kneel on my doorstep and kiss my feet. It’s happened to me here.”

Klose added that his postman had gone five games without his beloved Lazio winning a Rome derby and as a devout Catholic, he was happy to offer his prayers to have the desired impact on the pitch.

A ‘late bloomer’ in every sense with spells at Kaiserslautern, Bremen and Bayern Munich:

Klose made his Bundesliga debut at the age of 21 in April 2000, with a 15-minute sub appearance against Eintracht Frankfurt. The striker is regularly blasted for his lack of scoring prowess at club level, instead saving his best form for the German national team.

Yet in a 12-year Bundesliga career, Klose hit 111 goals in 307 games which is still a pretty decent record, given the two seasons at Bayern where he mustered only four goals.

The Lazio man had some excellent scoring records at Werder Bremen with 25 in 26 in 2005-06 and 53 goals in 89 games in total.

Klose holds the record of scoring the most headed goals at the World Cup:

Perhaps Klose’s biggest asset as a player has been his immense aerial ability inside the penalty box.

He’s scored five times with his head at World Cup finals – a record that still stands today – and has scored at least five goals at two separate World Cups (2002 and 2006, where he was top scorer).

Impressive facts – but here’s some of his World Cup goals below:

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FA chief: Qatar World Cup glory England’s big target

4/12/2013
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The 2022 Qatar World Cup may be making recent headlines for the wrong reasons amid concerns about the summer heat, but FA chairman Greg Dyke has set England a lofty ambition for the tournament.

Ever since Qatar were awarded the World Cup there have been ongoing debates over how to best combat the fierce Gulf heat, which can reach in excess of 50°C in the summer.

FIFA have strongly suggested that a winter tournament is the most likely and practical solution, and FA chief Dyke has thrown his support behind the proposal.

While Dyke’s support of FIFA has risked friction with Premier League bosses, who are desperate to avoid creating chaos with the fixture schedule, he steered clear of the subject to focus fully on football matters when mapping out his nine-year plan.

“Today I want to set the whole of English football two targets,” he told journalists. “The first is to at least reach the semi-finals of Euro 2020. And the second is for us win the World Cup in 2022.”

– UEFA support FIFA plans for winter Qatar World

In his first public address since succeeding David Bernstein in July, Dyke said the FA would be “letting the country and thousands of England fans down” if it did not act to give young English players more opportunities to play in the Premier League.

Dyke helped found the Premier League in 1992, but although he claimed that it was now the most successful domestic championship in the world, he said it was also harming the national team.

“English football is a tanker that needs turning,” he said. “Last season, 32 per cent of Premier League players were English. Do we let the trend continue, or do we do something about it?

“What happens when the number goes from 32 to 25 to 20 to 15? Do we still ignore the problem, or do we act now?”

A succession of England coaches and players, such as current assistant coach Gary Neville, have insisted that the most talented English players will always rise to the surface, but Dyke questioned that mindset.

“Gary Neville said the cream will always rise to the top, but I’m not so sure,” he said.

Since winning the World Cup on home soil in 1966, England have reached the semi-finals of a major tournament just twice — at the 1990 World Cup and the 1996 European Championship — and Dyke said the country’s entire football framework needed to come together to look for answers.

He announced that he will set up a commission, including the chairmen of the Premier League, the Football League, the League Managers’ Association and the Professional Footballers’ Association, to answer three key questions.

“Why has it happened? What can be done? How can you make changes?” he said. “The FA has to up its game, but all of English football has a problem. All of English football has to find a solution.”

 

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Al Jazira fail in bid for top La Liga striker – report

4/12/2013
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Abu Dhabi giants Al Jazira failed in a deadline day swoop for Real Betis striker Ruben Castro.

Spanish sports daily Marca claims the Arabian Gulf League club, managed by former Spain Under-21 boss Luis Milla, tabled an initial €5million offer plus various add-ons for the 32-year-old.

That bid, however, was rejected by the Spanish top-flight club who were loath to lose Castro at such a late stage of the window given they had no adequate replacement lined up.

Jazira have already raided La Liga twice this summer, signing Moroccan international Abdelaziz Barrada in a €10million deal from Getafe and Paraguayan striker Nelson Valdez from Valencia.

And it appears they were looking to complete a hat-trick with the signing of Castro, who was Betis’ top scorer last season with 18 goals in just 32 games.

Jazira’s apparent interest in the Spaniard would appear to place question marks over the long-term future of Ricardo Oliveira, who scored the only goal in his side’s 1-0 win over Al Shaab in the UAE League Cup on Tuesday night.

Arabian Gulf League rules state that clubs must adhere to the ‘3+1’ foreigner rule, which allows clubs to have 4 non-Emirati players – with the ‘+1’ having to be from Asia or Australasia.

With Oliveira and new recruits Barrada and Valdez already on the Jazira’s books, and South Korean Shin Hyung-Min the club’s Asian representative, Jazira have a full quota of foreign stars.

Interest in Castro therefore would suggest Oliveira’s position at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium is far from secure, despite the Brazilian being the club’s top scorer in each of the last two seasons.

 

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