Netzer: Germany was not clever enough against Italy

The Mannschaft legend has defended the class of 2012, but feels the team was tactically outgunned by Cesare Prandelli's Azzurri in the European Championship last-four clash.
Former West Germany midfielder Gunter Netzer believes Joachim Low's much-fancied side was outwitted by Italy in their Euro 2012 semifinal.

Now a pundit, Netzer still holds Low in high regard, but feels Germany's tactics ultimately let the team down against Cesare Prandelli's restyled and more "modern" Italy.

"The team was on their way, but in the game against Italy, they weren't strong enough," he told Kicker. "They weren't clever enough in this match, and accordingly they were well beaten.

"I think the heavy criticism of the coach is excessive. I think it's absurd to call all of his work into question now. I think highly of him, even after losing in the semifinals."

Netzer also believes that Vicente del Bosque's Spain was a worthy winner of the competition, and applauded the side for silencing its critics.

"For four years they have played terrifically," he continued. "They are the major force in world football, and have secured that status again. They have shown that they are untouchable. There was, however, a lot of criticism leveled at them, and especially Del Bosque. In the final match in Kiev, they refuted everything."

Although Netzer believes it was a close-run thing, he agreed with UEFA's decision to award the Golden Ball to La Roja midfielder Andres Iniesta.

"[Andrea] Pirlo shone all the way through, but what Xavi and Iniesta did throughout the tournament is also phenomenal. It's a difficult decision. I would choose Iniesta. He does it all: sets the rhythm, plays clever passes, dribbles well, creates goals," he concluded. has a new podcast! Goal Daily Podcast is a MUST for all Soccer fans and discusses the very latest news and views. What’s more when you sign up the service is FREE for the first month and you can cancel anytime.

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