Germany striker Miroslav Klose place in history books in doubt

July 9th, 2010

Germany striker Miroslav Klose may have to settle for second place in the World Cup all-time top scorers list with a back injury threatening to rule him out of the third place play-off match against Uruguay.

Klose trails current leader Ronaldo by a single goal and at the age of 32, Saturday’s consolation match against Uruguay is likely to be his final opportunity to rewrite the record books having already scored four in South Africa.

“He was hurt in an aerial duel, and we are hoping that he will be OK,” stated Germany assistant coach Hansi Flick.

The Polish born striker has 14 goals from three World Cup finals putting him level with Germany legend Gerd Muller and ahead of a host of players widely considered to be among the game’s greatest including Just Fontaine (13), Pele (12) and Eusebio (9).

The prospect of Klose surpassing Ronaldo’s record has drawn gasps from football romantics who consider the Bayern Munich player’s prolific goal poaching to be inferior to the more swashbuckling travails of his illustrious rivals.

But, as the only player to score five goals in successive tournaments and the 2006 Golden Boot winner, Klose has an admirer in national team coach Joachim Low.

“He’s truly impressive. He’s such a wonderful and successful player. He is absolutely outstanding. I’ve never had any doubts – in 2002, 2006 and 2010 – that he would perform,” he said.

“He’s very self-critical, but his performances are at the top level. He’s got 14 World Cup goals. There are very few who could hold a candle to him. That’s down there in the history books.

“He’s a player with enormous quality and we can’t praise him enough. He’s also scored one every two games. That’s truly impressive at this high level. Klose has recovered very well, even after bad patches. He doesn’t get too down.

“You might think he’s dithering or self-critical but he knows himself very well as a player and where he stands. He can handle things in a modest way and he’s still incredibly hungry.”

There are also injury concerns ahead of the game against Uruguay for midfielder Sami Khedira and captain Philipp Lahm who has shrugged off doubts about his availability, saying: “It would astonish me if I wasn’t ready.”

“I have time to rest and the body can absorb the pain during a day off.

“Four years ago, we thought it was fantastic to play for third place,” he added.

“Before, like a lot of people, I didn’t even want to watch this match on television. But now I believe that winning this match is important.”

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