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June 15, 2006   

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The Generals in Germany

Football is the beautiful game not just because of the players that embody poetry in motion, but also because of the the coaches who orchestrate the way a team plays.

A look at some of the Generals on the battlefield of World Cup 2006, the charismatic coaches.

Bruce Arena, USA

When Brooklyn-born Arena took over as the coach of the US team in October 1998, the Americans were smarting from a disastrous showing at that year's World Cup in France. A year later, the US soccer team had defeated the mighty Germans twice, the stylish Argentina once, and bagged third place in the 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup in Mexico.

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And, at the 2002 World Cup in Korea and Japan, the Americans surprised everyone with a quarter final berth.

The 54-year-old Arena -- who coached the Virginia University team for 18 years -- seldom minces words, and even got into some publicised verbal duels with his foot soldiers after the three-goal loss to the Czech Republic. But the most-successful American soccer coach's boys are tough cookies, as they showed in the very next 1-1 draw against the mighty Italians. And even the severest Arena critic will have to admit he is the man behind the American Soccer Dream.

Image: Midfielder Landon Donovan (left) gets some straight talking from coach Arena. Photograph: Timothy A Clary/AFP/Getty Images

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