Joachim Low refused to blame the referee for awarding a contentious penalty against Bastian Schweinsteiger in Thursday’s Euro 2016 semi-final defeat to France and believes his side deserved to progress to the decider.
Antoine Griezmann was the hero for hosts France as he scored twice in Marseille to secure a 2-0 victory over the world champions.
There was an air of controversy over France’s opening goal on the stroke of half-time, though, when captain Schweinsteiger was harshly penalised for handball in the penalty area.
However, head coach Low had no intention of pointing the finger of blame at ref Nicola Rizzoli and put the decision down to mere “bad luck”, but said Germany were the better team at Stade Velodrome.
“I don’t say anything about referees’ decisions, you have to accept them. The penalty, I don’t know, there is this rule, if the hand is not on the body… if you see how Bastian approached the ball, the ball touched his hand in a tenth of a second,” Low told a post-match news conference.
“The player can’t think about that, it’s bad luck. You can say the hand shouldn’t be there but there are movements when you jump and you can’t control them. I can’t blame any player for that.
“Too many things went wrong but I must give a great compliment to the team, we were the better side. We gave a lot and had a body language of power. It was unfortunate that we conceded the goal, that was bad luck, the ball touched the hand a minute before half-time.
“We had our chances, regretfully we didn’t score. We didn’t have the luck we needed but in 2012 [European Championship semi-final loss to Italy] or 2010 [World Cup semi-final loss to Spain] when we went out, the side that beat us were better than us.
“Today that wasn’t the case, we were better than the French.”
Germany were without several regulars for the encounter, with Sami Khedira and Mario Gomez injured and Mats Hummels suspended, while Jerome Boateng also came off hurt in the second half.
And Low believes that the absence of key personnel was difficult for Germany to cope with.
“There were injured players like Khedira and Gomez, Hummels was suspended and that’s not easy to compensate for,” he added.
“Jerome Boateng had to leave the pitch and we were weaker after that, that’s four important players we didn’t have but the team did everything I told them, we were very brave so there’s nothing to blame them for.”
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