Low bemoans 'bad luck' over contentious Schweinsteiger penalty call

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The world champions were defeated by Antoine Griezmann's double but the manager insists that they deserved to progress, while refusing to hide behind refereeing decisions

Joachim Low believes Germany deserved to progress to the Euro 2016 final, but has refused to blame referee Nicola Rizzoli for his side's 2-0 semi-final defeat to France on Thursday.

Antoine Griezmann was the hero for the hosts, as he scored twice in Marseille to secure a 2-0 victory over the world champions.

There was an air of controversy over his opening goal on the stroke of half-time, however, with official Rizzoli awarding Les Bleus a penalty after Germany captain Bastian Schweinsteiger was adjudged to have handled the ball in the area.

Low, though, says the decision was merely "bad luck", and maintains that his side 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 sustained an injury during the match, and Low believes that the absence of key personnel hit his side hard.

"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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