Coach Jan Kozak said his Slovakia side simply could not handle Germany, as the world champions eased into the Euro 2016 quarter-finals with a 3-0 win on Sunday.
Having battled through Group B to reach the knockout rounds, Slovakia were completely outplayed in Lens, with the Germans even affording a missed Mesut Ozil penalty in the first half.
A maiden international goal from Jerome Boateng alongside strikes from Mario Gomez and Julian Draxler sent them through, and Kozak conceded his side were powerless.
“The German team had a slow start in the group but the last game against Northern Ireland showed the strength they have,” conceded the Slovakia coach. “They had about nine clear-cut chances, their link-up play was good.
“They put in a great collective performance and the quick goal helped them. I think they deserved to win.
“We gave them too much space for their link-up play. They’re very strong and it’s difficult to play against teams like that sometimes. We had a little bit of fear but they were so focused, showed so much quality that it was difficult to do anything about it.”
Despite their opponents’ dominance, the 62-year-old made no excuses for lacklustre Slovakia.
“A one-on-one situation, the goalscorer went around our player quite easily. But there were several players who weren’t at their best,” Kozak continued. “When two or three are not totally focused and don’t fulfil their instructions, it’s difficult to do anything.
“We had enough players who haven’t played before. They were well rested – there shouldn’t be any problem there.”
However, the former Czechoslovakia international insisted there were some positives to focus on, with the tournament teaching Kozak more about his squad.
“Any defeat is painful regardless of the opposition but we got beaten by Wales, won against Russia and drew against England, so there’s a feeling that we did well,” he added. “We played Germany twice in a month [including a pre-tournament 3-1 friendly victory], one win, one loss. That’s quite good.
“It hurts, but we played very strong opposition and I respect them. You play your best but the opposition is just too strong.
“I wouldn’t like to analyse individual performances but I liked several things. The match opened my eyes, gave me a better insight into the character of my players. It’s been very informative.
“Slovakia needs a change of generation.”
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