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Tributes paid to Haller

Tributes are being paid to former Germany international Helmut Haller who has died at his home in Augsburg, aged 73.

Haller, a striker, scored West Germany's opening goal in the 1966 World Cup final and represented his country at the 1962, 1966 and 1970 World Cups, and was capped 33 times for West Germany scoring 13 goals including six in the 1966 World Cup.

"Helmut Haller is one of the outstanding personalities of German Football,'' said German Football Association president Wolfgang Niersbach." His amazing performance, particularly at the 1966 World Cup, are unforgettable.

"We were in contact up until very recently for his work with the Sepp-Herberger-Foundation and his death really saddens us."

Haller enjoyed three different spells with home-town club Augsburg, and also spent over a decade in Italy with Bologna and Juventus, winning three Serie A title and being voted footballer of the year in Italy in 1964.

His former international team-mates, Jurgen Grabowski, told the German FA website: "When I was allowed to go to the 1966 World Cup as a young player, Helmut Haller was one of the matadors. He was a special player and a wonderful person, always willing to help. I have got to say that I had the fortune of being able to spend several years with him.''

Augsburg paid tribute with a black background to their website while chairman Peter Bircks said: "Our thoughts are with his family. Helmut Haller was one of the biggest footballing heroes of post-war times and has defined a generation of football in Augsburg."

The German national team will show their respect by wearing black armbands in their World Cup qualifier against Republic of Ireland on Friday.


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