Franz Beckenbauer believes Germany’s players fell victim to ‘the curse of Italy’ during Thursday night’s Euro 2012 semi-final clash.
Germany saw their run in the tournament end with a 2-1 defeat to Cesare Prandelli’s men, thanks to two outstanding finishes from Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli.
The Germans are yet to beat the Azzurri in a competitive international – a record stretched to eight games by the latest result – and the 66-year-old believes that pressure weighed heavy on Joachim Loew’s side.
“I thought that 16 years after the Euro 96 victory in England that we were ready again for the title,” Beckenbauer told Bild.
“This tournament did not see the true Germany team. With all of the talk of the curse of Italy, the players seem to have been paralysed somewhat. Something is still missing.”
Despite feeling the disappointment of Germany’s exit, the German legend insisted a run to the semi-finals is a result which other national sides will envy.
“I don’t think the player changes from Jogi Loew worked,” he said. “But we shouldn’t forget: the semi-final is no mess.
“Other football countries like England, France and Netherlands would like to achieve this. Now we have to wait another two years for the next shot at the title.”