Football

Germany players and staff: We were better team

Germany's players and staff believe France were lucky to win

Germany coach Joachim Loew was adamant that his side were the better team in their 2-0 Euro 2016 semi-final defeat by France at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille yesterday morning (Singapore time).

The world champions went into the game with three players ruled out through injury and suspension, before losing key defender Jerome Boateng to injury in the second half.

Die Mannschaft dominated the first half, however, before an Antoine Griezmann penalty put the hosts ahead on the stroke of half-time. He scored again on 72 minutes to seal the tie.

"There weren't too many things that went wrong," Loew said.

"We were the better team... We were powerful.

BAD LUCK

"It was unfortunate that we conceded the goal. It was bad luck.

"We had our chances, but sadly we didn't score. We didn't have the luck needed today.

"(When we went out) in 2012 or 2010, the sides were better than us, but today that wasn't the case."

Loew's sentiments were shared by his players.

Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer called the result unfair, saying: "We played well... There weren't any stupid moments or silly mistakes.

"It's not a fair result. It's disappointing to go in at the break trailing as we did.

"Nevertheless, we still had the chance to bounce back but simply couldn't score. They were clinical.

"If it had been 0-0 at the break, that wouldn't have happened."

Toni Kroos, meanwhile, felt it was ironic that Germany were knocked out after playing their best match of the tournament.

The midfielder explained: "We delivered our best performance at Euro 2016 today, so it's strange that we suffered a 2-0 defeat.

"I can't blame the team, we carved out good opportunities. We had three or four excellent chances from headers but we fell further behind after a slip."

Germany might have created clear chances, but the absence of injured striker Mario Gomez to finish them off ultimately cost them the game, according to defender Mats Hummels.

He said: "It is always easier to accept defeat when you were the weaker team. If you had it in your own hands, it hurts even more.

"I would say we missed Mario Gomez most. We did not do a bad job defensively, you always concede a few chances - you can't prevent that, but we were lacking someone who scored.

"If we won the match, nobody would complain. Everybody would have said, 'Deserved win for Germany'. The (World Cup) quarter-final two years ago was more balanced than this match."

Both Bastian Schweinsteiger and Oliver Bierhoff opined that what separated Germany from a place in the final was a slice of luck.

German captain Schweinsteiger, whose handball resulted in Griezmann's spot-kick opener, said: "We were missing something extremely important against France: A little bit of luck."

Germany general manager Bierhoff added: "We controlled and dominated France. We actually had more of the game and should have won... At the end of the day, France were luckier."

With Die Mannschaft's dreams of a World Cup-European Championship Double over, Loew was coy about his future.

He said: "I can't predict (what I will do next). I'm still disappointed, so I won't think about that tonight.

"We didn't discuss it beforehand, but maybe in two or three days, we'll talk about it." - Wire Services.

FootballsportsFranceGermanyEuro 2016joachim loewOliver BierhoffUncategorisedmats hummelsbastian schweinsteiger