Germany assistant coach Hansi
Flick apologised on Friday for saying his players would need
steel helmets for protection when Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo
takes free-kicks in their Euro 2012 Group B match on Saturday.
The comment made earlier on Friday before the team's
departure for match venue Lviv caused a stir in Germany due to
its military connotations.
The German word for steel helmet (Stahlhelm) not only refers
to the actual military helmet used by German soldiers in both
World Wars but also to a post-World War I paramilitary
"I am sorry if my unfortunate comment created irritations,"
Flick said in a statement. "It was a verbal error that should
not create wrong impressions. It is not my style to use military
vocabulary for sporting issues."
"I would like to apologise for my expression at the news
conference and I am angry with myself because I know how
sensitive we are with these issues," he added.
A delegation from the Germany team visited the former Nazi
death camp at Auschwitz in Poland on June 1.
Ronaldo packs a powerful strike from dead-ball situations
and the Germans have been told to minimise the risk of
committing fouls outside the penalty area in one-on-one
situations, Flick had earlier told reporters.
"I think just steel helmets and to make themselves big," the
assistant coach had said when asked how the Germans planned to
deal with any potential free kicks from the Portuguese forward.
"At 20, 25 or even 30 metres we need to be clever in the
one-on-one situations. Ronaldo has an exceptional free-kick
Germany also play Netherlands and Denmark in their group.
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