KEIR RADNEDGE in MARSEILLE: Germany’s 2-0 defeat by hosts France here in the Euro 2016 semi-final left a sour taste in the mouth of World Cup holders’ coach Joachim Low.
As if the Germans’ pre-match injury problems were not enough, they fell crucially behind in first half stoppage time to a contentious penalty award by Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli against Bastian Schweinsteiger.
Antoine Griezmann converted the kick to give France a half-time lead they hardly deserved and they capitalised in the second half to catch Germany on the counter-attack and score a killing second goal. Griezmann was again the executioner.
Reviewing the match, Low said: “Too many things went wrong. We were the better team. It was unfortunate how we conceded the goal. It was just bad luck, for the ball to touch the player’s hand and for us to concede a penalty just before half-time.
“If you see how Schweinsteiger approaches the ball, it touches his hand for in the 10th of a second. You can say the hands shouldn’t be higher but you can’t control movements when you jump.”
That was not all.
He regretted the injury absences of centre-forward Mario Gomez and Sami Khedira plus the suspension of centre back Mats Hummel. To make matters worse Germany lost centre back Jerome Boateng to a further injury midway through the second half.
Low added: “We had our chances but sadly we didn’t score. We didn’t have the luck we would have needed. In 2008 and 2010 when we went out the other sides [Spain and Italy] were better than us. Today this wasn’t the case. We were better than the French but didnt have the luck of the goals.
“The players did everything I told them. We had a lot of courage so there’s nothng to blame them for. As for the second goal we should have cleared the ball and we didn’t and then Neuer only just reached the ball and then it was in front of a French player.”
Low damned France with faint praise saying: “If you win 2-0 then you deserve it and I think the French will win the final against Portugal. Portugal have not been very convincing in their games so far.
“The French are a very good side even though we were the better team today. We could have dominated the match had we scored. France did not have that many chances.
“Otherwise it’s been a good tournament for us. They players all showed great support in the matches and in training and a great team spirit. It was impressive how the players who did not play also helped the side.
“In the end we had a lot of courage, created a lot of pressure, but just had bad luck.”
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