- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 22, 2002

ULSAN, South Korea (AP) Germany probably would have been knocked out of the World Cup by now if not for goalkeeper Oliver Kahn.

The German captain protected his team's 1-0 win against the United States yesterday with some breathtaking saves, putting the three-time champions into the semifinals for the 10th time.

"He stopped some big shots; he had a couple of great saves. In a game like this, it made all the difference," U.S. coach Bruce Arena said.

"Give him credit, he was outstanding."

German coach Rudi Voeller couldn't have agreed more.

"He saved our life several times in the first half," he said.

"It was clear to us from the beginning that if we wanted to get far in the tournament, we could only do it with a good Kahn in the goal."

Kahn's first save came in the 17th minute when he had to dive low to his right to tip away a powerful low shot from Landon Donovan from the edge of the penalty area.

In the 30th minute, Donovan, playing up front instead of his normal midfield position, made a long run through the middle and found himself 1-on-1 with Kahn, but the goalie made the save again.

Six minutes later, Kahn denied Eddie Lewis, who struck a powerful shot from the edge of the box.

When the match was over, Kahn lay on his back for a long time.

"Such a game is so tense. It puts so much pressure on a goalkeeper. It's tough on your nerves; the pressure is enormous," said Kahn, who made six saves and came off his line to thwart several other U.S. crosses and through balls.

"The Americans more than tested us. They threw everything at us. They had so much power and fight in them, and they had two days of rest less than us. They were in incredible condition."

Germany was given little chance of success at the World Cup after its dismal performance at Euro 2000, when it failed to win a match as defending champion.

Now, it already has its best World Cup performance since 1990, when it won the last of its three titles.

Kahn celebrated his 33rd birthday last Saturday and made three key saves in a 1-0 victory over Paraguay. Against the Americans, Kahn made his 50th appearance for the German national team.

Despite his stellar play, Kahn refused to take all the credit for the Germans' march to the semifinal.

"You try to do everything possible, but the guys in front me, they do their part as well and they have been fighting very hard," he said.

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