Germans suffer mobile phone foul-up

JOHANNESBURG - They can call their wives and families back home but German players have no way of reaching team-mates with their fancy new cell phones issued for the World Cup in South Africa, players said on Tuesday.

Each of the 23 players has been given a cell phone with the corresponding numbers of their team-mates already entered in them - but so far they are unable to talk to each other.

"We each got a cell phone but they don't work at all," said central defender Arne Friedrich. "I can call my girlfriend in Berlin but cannot talk to other players."

His team-mate Per Mertesacker said he already found a way around it, calling them on their room phones in their five-star luxury hotel near Pretoria.

"Calling within the group has not been possible," he said. "It is the first time we have been given a cell phone with all the numbers in. So I just call room number to room number."

Germany kick off their World Cup campaign against Australia on Sunday and also play Serbia and Australia in Group D of the June 11-July 11 tournament.

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