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Die Mannschaft have never beaten the Italians in a competitive international, a fact which the 66-year-old believes weighed heavy on Joachim Low's men on Thursday night

Franz Beckenbauer believes Germany's players fell victim to "the curse of Italy" during Thursday night's Euro 2012 semi-final clash.

Die Mannschaft saw their run in the tournament ended after a 2-1 defeat to Cesare Prandelli's men, thanks to two outstanding finishes from Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli.

The Germans are still yet to beat the Azzurri in a competitive international - a record stretched to eight games by the latest result - and the 66-year-old believes that pressure 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."
ITALIAN JOB?
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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 & Netherlands would like to achieve this. Now we have to wait another two years for the next shot at the title."

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