Shock for Germany Klinsmann Quits as German Coach

Jürgen Klinsmann has decided not to stay on as Germany's national soccer team coach, despite leading his young squad to the World Cup semi-finals. The decision will disappoint the millions of German fans who had hoped he would continue.

It will come as a hard blow after the World Cup euphoria that gripped host nation Germany: the man that lead their youthful and underdog team to a surprisingly strong showing in the tournament is calling it quits. Jürgen Klinsmann will not continue as German national coach despite overwhelming support across the country.

"I have a great wish to return to my family and my children," said Klinsmann at a press conference on Wednesday. "I feel burned out."

His assistant coach Joachim Löw, who has played a big part in Klinsmann's controversial attempt to modernize the training methods of the German Football Association (DFB), was named as his successor. "He was never an assistant - he was a partner, who had his own areas of responsibility," Klinsmann said.

The resistance to change that Klinsmann and his staff encountered prior to the World Cup could be one of the biggest reasons for his resignation. His two-year tenure was marked by frequent public criticism of the 41-year-old, who had no previous coaching experience.

Although Germany's third-place finish at the World Cup and the bold, attacking style of the national team won Klinsmann legions of fans and helped the country develop a strong sense of unity amid an outpouring of enthusiasm, it was never clear he would continue as coach after the tournament.

He lives with his family in California, which was always a point of contention with many at the DFB and others in Germany's soccer community -- as were some of his personnel and coaching decisions. Klinsmann may fear a return to infighting and backbiting once the wave of excitement generated by the World Cup rolls back.

Former German coach Berti Vogts was one of the few not to be caught up in the national glow of the team's impressive performance, which made it seem to some that Klinsmann would be encouraged to continue. "After this World Cup everything certainly seems wonderful. But I know that Jürgen Klinsmann hasn't forgotten all the things that happened to him over the past two years," Vogts told the Stuttgarter Zeitung newspaper.

From zero to hero

After Germany was thumped 4-1 by Italy in a friendly in March, an opinion poll had 60 percent of the public calling for Klinsmann to be replaced. Only months later, after a strong showing in the World Cup and only a narrow defeat by Italy in the semi-finals, fans were desperate for him to remain. Many held banners during the team's last match for third place against Portugal reading: "Klinsi Please Stay!"

"I hope that no one's heart will be broken by this," Klinsmann said. "Now let's look to the future. We'll have a lot of fun watching this team."

But the decision was also likely a disappointment to Klinsmann's youthful players, who had unanimously called for him to continue on as coach heading towards the European championships in Switzerland and Austria in two years.

"It's a shame that Klinsmann is not continuing," German captain Michael Ballack said. "I am pleased, though, that we now have a coach in Joachim Löw who knows the team and who will continue in the same style."

Speaking after Klinsmann at the same press conference on Wednesday, the new German head coach echoed his predecessor's unshakable optimism. "We are deeply convinced that we have established ourselves in the top of world football again. We have a young team that can only improve," Löw said.



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