Germany will not undergo a
radical overhaul after they stumbled out of Euro 2012 at the
semi-final stage against Italy and now have to wait longer for
their first major title since 1996.
The Germans, among the favourites after winning 15 straight
competitive games before Thursday's loss, will learn from this
experience and eye their next title challenge with a lot more
mental strength, according to coach Joachim Low.
"There is absolutely no reason to question everything now,"
said Low. "We were the youngest team in the tournament. We won
all our games in a tough group. The team will stomach this
defeat as well and continue to develop.
"Clearly we are all disappointed but the team has showed
soul and for us, overall, it was a good tournament," added the
Germany FA president Wolfgang Niersbach echoed that view.
"Joachim, you have done a superb job and we are extremely
happy to have you as our coach," he said in an early morning
address at the team hotel. "The path of this team is long from
over but it is a young team overflowing with talent."
Low, who took charge after their 2006 World Cup semi-final
exit by Italy, steered them to a runners-up spot at Euro 2008
and a third-place finish at the 2010 World Cup before reaching
the semi-final stage again in Poland and Ukraine.
A perfect qualifying campaign with 10 wins in 10 games - a
German record - and another three victories in the group stage
against Portugal, Netherlands and Denmark rightly made Low's
team, with an average age of 24, one of the front runners.
With half a million people cheering them on at every game
from a gigantic Berlin fan zone, the Germans looked to have the
tailwind needed to lift their fourth European crown and their
first major tournament title since Euro 96.
A 4-2 demolition of Greece in the last eight further boosted
domestic euphoria but it also clouded weaknesses at the heart of
their defence that was not lost on the Italians.
With holding midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger a long way
from his best and playmaker Mesut Ozil below-par throughout the
tournament, Germany were always going to be vulnerable.
Italy forward Mario Balotelli twice took full advantage of
their weaknesses, embarrassing their central defenders to steer
his side to a 2-1 victory and put German champagne on ice for at
least another two years until the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
"There were several young players who came into the team at
the Euro like Marco Reus. Others like Mario Gotze also have
great prospects. There will be no major personnel overhaul. We
have after all a very young team," said Low.
"Sure there is disappointment but everyone will rediscover
their motivation and will set new goals."
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