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Ciao! Italians kick Germany out of Euros

Published: 28 Jun 2012 22:40 GMT+02:00
Updated: 29 Jun 2012 16:12 GMT+02:00

Italy striker Mario Balotelli broke hearts with a first-half header and strike as the inexperienced Germans – the youngest of the 16 teams at Euro 2012 – failed to cope with Cesare Prandelli's boys.

"The most bitter thing is that this team has so much potential for so much more," said team captain Philipp Lahm as the Germans's 15-match winning streak in competitive games was broken. “We were not clever enough,” he added.

The knock-out ensured their trophy drought dating back to Euro '96 would last at least another two years to the 2014 World Cup, should they qualify.

While Germany had a faint lifeline when Mesut Özil converted a 92nd-minute penalty after a handball by Federico Balzaretti, it was too little, too late.

For all their potential and the impressive attack-minded football they showed in their Euro 2012 wins over Portugal, Holland, Denmark and Greece, Löw's team clearly had no Plan B when things went wrong.

It is a very, very bitter defeat... We made some stupid mistakes and we shouldn't have conceded the goals like that,” said Lahm.

Having dropped three of his forwards for last Friday's 4-2 quarter-final win over Greece, Löw again tinkered with his starting line-up, but this time it back-fired as the Italians ruled the midfield in the first half.

Arsenal-bound Lukas Podolski was hauled off at half-time, striker Mario Gomez also made way for 34-year-old veteran Miroslav Klose after the break, while Toni Kroos barely troubled the Italian defence from the right wing.

"I wanted to strengthen things in midfield, which is why I brought in Toni," explained Löw. "The goals we conceded came from mistakes, because we weren't present enough around the area.

"We had things under control at the start, but after falling behind we took more risks and weren't as well organised, he said. Adding "after going 2-0 down, we had to risk everything.”

Having finished third at the last two World Cups and lost the Euro 2008 final, this is the fourth consecutive tournament the Germans have reached at least the semi-final. Löw's contract runs until after the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

AFP/hc/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

23:13 June 28, 2012 by McM
Yep, right on cue. Just as I said at the start of the comp. They will look good against a few B grade teams but when it gets serious out they go. Good effort but this German team has never been in the hunt in the last 4 big competitions. Time to change the mix me thinks.
23:18 June 28, 2012 by Eagle1
Disgusting.
23:22 June 28, 2012 by raandy
Disappointing .
00:06 June 29, 2012 by elgrecomac
And where was the vaunted German defense? A real disappointment: so much potential but, I feel, they were reading their own media hype. Games are won on the pitch, not in magazines, newspapers or television.
00:12 June 29, 2012 by DinhoPilot
06 - 08 - 10 - 12

The always almost winner. The arrogant best team... which always chickens out when most needed. Oh well.. 14...
00:24 June 29, 2012 by federicoscala
No more stupid flags everywhere. At least for the next 2 years. :-(
00:35 June 29, 2012 by Bigfoot76
Bayern had the biggest problem with the center Defense, who was there? Badstuber. Germany had the biggest problem with the center Defense, who was there? Same guy. Actually that is where he is supposed to be but the majority of the time when there is a goal it is either because Badstuber is no where to be found or he is just plain playing poorly. Bayern went out to get someone new for the center Defense last month. Germany needs to as well.
05:41 June 29, 2012 by paulspookys
One Balatolli cann make so much difference. He capitalized all he got, poor Germans spoiled all they got. Germans were overconfidant and arrogant in their attitudes.
05:52 June 29, 2012 by hanskarl
I don't know what you are mentally feeding these chaps Jogi but they need to go on a diet so that they are hungry to win. This is becoming an endless comedy of lethargy. Germany always starts, they stay slow, they play slow. They don't seem to have the deep intensity and desire to win like Spain and Italy. These two teams deserve to be in the finals because they want the title, hands down. They don't care what they have to do to get there they will play their guts out to be on top. @Bigfoot76: Bad Stube rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. I agree.
06:15 June 29, 2012 by Ricardoh
There are days when you are out of sink and too bad for the team this was their day to be out of sink. The two goals should have been prevented and the team got unlucky on shots on goal. That's the way the ball bounces, but I enjoyed all the other games. The remark about overconfident and arrogant is arrogant..
09:33 June 29, 2012 by heidelberg3232
Here are my short observations from the game:

Badstuber ­ Plays out of position too often.

Boateng ­ Good player, but plays lazy, at times. Doesn¦#39;t give 100% effort. Did you see the first Italian goal? No way should the Italian player be able to split two German defenders like that. No way.

Midfield ­ Germany needs a midfielder that controls the game. Did you see Pirlo for Italy? He is a master in the midfield. I wish Lothar Matthäus could still play.

Gomez ­ Did he play last night? I saw him in the line-up, but the only time I saw him was when Klose was subbing in for him. Don¦#39;t get me wrong, Gomez is outstanding, but if he wants to be a world class player, he cannot disappear in such a high profile game.

ízil ­ Great skills, but needs to take more shots on goal and create more opportunities. Also needs to improve his upper body strength. He gets pushed around too often.

Joachim Löw ­ Good coach. Needs to get more youth on the field. I love Podolski, but get the young guys like Reus and Schürrle in there to make things happen.
10:21 June 29, 2012 by insight101
If Joachim Löw is such a good coach, why would he not start a player like Klose, who can not only do everything technically, but is the one player who might infuse the team with a bit of emotion. That a little kiddie like Lahm is the captain is laughable to me.

Now we don't have to listen to people shouting "Deutschland! Deutschland!" for a while.

And yes, it is always good to see arrogance and cold logic take another fall to heart and emotion (which so many in this country scorn). Maybe someday they will get it that technique isn't everything...But for now, this will help them to keep their better than you attitude under the rug at lest in this matter.
12:34 June 29, 2012 by girlFriday
Sorry but Germany and Portugal will not compete for third place!

Within the European Championships there's neither a quarter final nor a a match for third place!
12:38 June 29, 2012 by heidelberg3232
girlFriday, good call. This article confused me for a second. I went back to look at the schedule to make sure there is no third place game like the World Cup.
16:13 June 29, 2012 by The Local Germany
Thanks girlFriday - you're right, we've made a correction.
19:30 June 29, 2012 by pfauder35
very disapointed as I had a large amount of money on Germany to win the competition before the Euros began. I think the team will bounce back but there will have to be some changes as three or four players seemed to be way off form and there was no real passion from Kroos, Ozil, Hummels, Badstuber. and the midfield was fractured, Italy deserved to win this game but Germany threw away many chances so I think defeat was inevitable. England have far greater problems yet the Tabloid press tell the public They could win the competition ! ! on their performance it will take light years. Still i suppose it sells newspapers .
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