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German players go home in tears as Azurri secures the final slot

Germany coach Joachim Low revealed to the press that there were "tears flowing" in the changing room following their disastrous loss on the Euro 2012 semifinals.

The expected finalists Die Mannschaft surprisingly lost 2-1 to struggling Italy in Warsaw following two first-half strikes from Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli.

The former Fenerbache coach spoke of his players' sorrow at being kicked out on the semifinals, but he maintained that his side had performed exceptionally in Poland and Ukraine.

"In the locker room the tears are flowing. It is as quiet as a mouse in the locker room, no one is saying a word," he told reporters.

"We are very disappointed, but we should not make the mistake of questioning everything. The team played a great tournament."

The 52-year-old coach blamed his defeat on the defensive errors allowed the Italians to score, but praised their efforts (albeit useless) in the second half.

He added: "The goals were scored because of mistakes in our defence. But the [team] showed their heart during the second half. Italy were 2-0 in front [at half-time] so it is hard to turn the match around."

Low explained his decision to hand Bayern Munich midfielder Toni Kroos his first start of the tournament and bring Lukas Podolski and Mario Gomez back into the team.

"With Toni, I wanted to be stronger in the centre, and limit the midfield axis of [Andrea] Pirlo and [Riccardo] Montolivo," he continued.

"Gomez had scored three times [in the tournament so far] and was good in training. Lukas was also good in training. We won in the first few games with Podolski and Gomez"

Franz Beckenbauer believes Germany's players fell victim to "the curse of Italy".

The Germans are still yet to beat the Azzurri in an international non-friendly – a record stretched to eight games by the latest result - and the 66-year-old believes that despite their good performance in the tournament, the pressure of the “curse” weighed heavy on Joachim Low's side.

"I thought that 16 years after the Euro 96 victory in England that we were ready again for the title," he told Bild.

"This tournament did not see the true Germany team. With all of the talk of the curse of Italy, the players seem to have been paralysed somewhat. Something is still missing."

Despite feeling the disappointment of Germany's exit, the former Bayern Munich stopper insisted a run to the semi-finals is a result which other national sides will envy.

"I don't think the player changes from Jogi Low worked," he admitted. "But we shouldn't forget: the semi-final is no mess.

"Other football countries like England, France, and Netherlands would like to achieve this. Now we have to wait another two years for the next shot at the title."

What do you think?

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