Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Nagelsmann rues Germany´s missed opportunity but retiring Kroos recognises ´hope again´

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 5 Jul 2024

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Julian Nagelsmann was frustrated to see Germany’s chances of winning a home tournament slip away with defeat to Spain, although retiring midfielder Toni Kroos found cause for optimism for the years ahead.

Despite Florian Wirtz’s late strike to cancel out Dani Olmo’s opener on Friday, an even later goal from Mikel Merino, in the 119th minute, sent Spain through at the hosts’ expense.

The 2-1 defeat was tough for Germany to take having worked so hard to get back into the match against perhaps the tournament’s standout side in Spain.

Indeed, coach Nagelsmann felt his team deserved more, explaining: “It’s difficult to hold back the tears. They did not deserve to lose today.

“We reacted well after the break. Spain had only two chances in the second half, and we were closer to the winner than Spain. We hit the post, we had a chance with a header.

“It hurts, it will take time to make it better, and a home tournament won’t come again in my career, I guess.

“We had a good team that stuck together – you could feel after the opening goal that we were not satisfied; we wanted to give more.

“If we appeared as in the past, with no appetite, then it would have been deserved, but the team invested a lot.”

Kroos had similar feelings, playing his last professional match, having bowed out of club football as a European champion with Real Madrid.

But after the disappointment of recent tournaments, including Germany’s group-stage exits at the past two World Cups, the veteran was enthused by the experience of this run to the quarter-finals.

“We were so close,” Kroos said. “Now, at the moment, our elimination covers it all.

“We wanted to achieve something big, and now that dream is gone. We will realise we played a good tournament, but being so close to reaching the next round is hard.

“We can all be proud, because we improved. I am happy to have helped Germany as a football nation to have hope again. In the future, I am convinced the team will succeed.

“But today, we are sad. We wanted to stay in the competition a bit longer.”

Niclas Fullkrug, one of the stars of the tournament for Germany, almost came up with another decisive goal when Unai Simon saved superbly.

The Borussia Dortmund forward added: “It is very sad that it is finished.

“You have a euphoria, a united feeling in Germany – it was a long time that this was not like that – but now it is finished.”

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