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Germany damaging image with focus on negative -- Bierhoff

Written by: Staff
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FRANKFURT, Mar 21 (Reuters) Germany is inflicting needless damage on its image by focusing on the negative in the build up to the World Cup, team manager Oliver Bierhoff has warned.

''We have a huge tournament and I have the feeling that there's a tendency to talk about negative matters first,'' Bierhoff said in an interview with Die Welt newspaper.

''It's dangerous because that way we destroy our image abroad.

''We shouldn't be completely uncritical but we should consider how things will be looked at in other countries.'' German media have been serving up a regular diet of bad news before the June 9 kick-off, leaping on claims that the stadiums may not be safe, ticketing is a mess and that the country is in the midst of another betting scandal.

It seems only the disappointing performances of the German team and controversy over coach Juergen Klinsmann's decision to keep living in the United States can rival stories of organisational mayhem.

Germany's last game was a 4-1 defeat away to Italy and the team need a convincing win against the United States in their latest warm-up in Dortmund tomorrow.

The hosts get the World Cup underway with a Group A match against Costa Rica in Munich on June 9. The final is in Berlin on July 9.

REUTERS PDS PM1806

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