United States coach Jurgen Klinsmann said Germany failed to limit the action of Italy’s midfielders in Thursday’s 2-1 defeat at Euro 2012.
A late Mesut Oezil penalty was not enough for Joachim Loew’s side to turn the match around after Italy had taken a commanding lead with two goals from Mario Balotelli during the first half.
Italy were in control of the match for large spells, and Klinsmann – who took charge of Germany between 2004 and 2006 – thinks that the Italian midfielders simply ran riot.
“We were able to play in the first half, but then Italy played marvelously in defence in the second half,” he told Der Tagesspiegel.
“We lost most tackles in midfield. We could not control Andrea Pirlo, Riccardo Montolivo or Daniele De Rossi. The game was lost in the midfield.”
Germany team manager Oliver Bierhoff, who had labelled his side favourites against Italy, made no secret of his frustration with the result, but stressed that the quality of the team must not be questioned.
“After such a defeat, you have to be disappointed,” the 44-year-old said.
“We believed in our target and did not reach it. We were not so pressured that we had to leave as winners.
“The team has room for improvement. We believe in these players. We will learn from this experience.”
Germany get back to competitive action with a home clash with the Faroe Islands on September 7.