Joachim Low: Italy loss was 'particularly painful'

Die Mannschaft's trainer is concentrating on qualification for the 2014 World Cup, but has conceded that the recent European Championship exit was hard to take.
Germany coach Joachim Low has spoken of the pain he experienced following his side's defeat to Italy in the semifinal of Euro 2012, after having hopes of winning the tournament.

The 52-year-old took charge of the national side in 2006 and quickly began to rejuvenate the squad, putting a firm emphasis on using young players.

In his first major competition, Euro 2008, Germany was runner-up to Spain, before then finishing third at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

The decent performances at those two tournaments made the team one of the favorites going in to the recent European Championship in Poland and Ukraine, but it was knocked out at the semifinal stage by a Mario Balotelli-inspired Italy side.

Ahead of the upcoming friendly with Argentina, Low has spoken of his anguish caused by that loss.

"We wanted to go to to the World Cup in 2010 in South Africa and begin forming a team that could then win this title [Euro 2012], so the loss in the semifinal against Italy was particularly painful," he told reporters at a press conference. "We now have the task of working on the errors we made at Euro 2012, and find solutions to those errors over the next two years. We went on this path a few years ago, and we have a long-term plan to which we will stick.

"Before the Italy game we had won 15 [competitive] games in a row - a world record. We will stay on this path, with a few minor changes. You have to try and draw lessons from criticism with humility. Some criticism, though, was not productive, I think."

The manager then backed some of his players that came under fire for not showing particularly well in the Euros.

"Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Miroslav Klose and some others have done what I expected of them, and been perfect," he said. "But to the public watching on television, they weren't winners on the pitch. We are all proud of this team for everything they have done, and are doing, for integration in Germany."

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