Beaten Germany were just lifeless, says Beckenbauer

Der Kaiser, mystified by performance of Löw's side, claims Italy were given too much respect

In complete contrast to the views of coach Joachim Löw and the national FA, Franz Beckenbauer has criticised Germany for being "lifeless" during their 2-1 semi-final defeat to Italy.

A Mario Balotelli double before half-time in Warsaw stunned the Germans, sending them home from the European Championship. They had gone into Thursday night's match as favourites after winning their past 15 competitive matches.

"It hurts alot. I thought 16 years after winning Euro '96 in England that we were again ready to win a title," the former national coach and captain Beckenbauer wrote in Bild.

"Something is still missing. Now we will have to wait another two years for a title shot. The first-half performance was a mystery to me after we performed so confidently in the four games beforehand.

"That was not the true German team. They seemed completely lifeless. Rather than set the pace of the game and put pressure on the Italians, they could not get control of the midfield against a clever opponent."

In Beckenbauer's view, they gave the Azzurri "too much respect".

Löw, however, is convinced that his side – the youngest at the competition – are continuing to improve and will challenge at the World Cup in Brazil in two years' time. "There is absolutely no reason to question everything now," he said. "We won all our games in a tough group. The team will stomach this defeat as well and continue to develop."

Half a million German supporters gathered to cheer on their side in Berlin's fanzone for each game, with the general consensus positive for the performance overall.

"Clearly we are all disappointed but the team has showed soul and for us, overall, it was a good tournament," Löw said. "There were several young players who came into the team, like Marco Reus. Others, like Mario Gotze, also have great prospects. There will be no major personnel overhaul.

"It's hard to win a title. Spain waited years. It's a learning process for us and you can't be impatient."

Although there are no question marks surrounding Löw's future, the German FA president Wolfgang Niersbach chose to back his coach to the hilt. "Joachim, you have done a superb job and we are extremely happy to have you as our coach," he said in an address at the team hotel.

"The path of this team is long from over but it is a young team overflowing with talent."

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