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The Mannschaft legend has defended the class of 2012, but feels they were 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 were out-witted by Italy in their Euro 2012 semi-final.

Now a pundit, Netzer still holds Low in high regard, but feels Germany's tactics ultimately let them 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 semi-finals."

Netzer also believes that Vicente del Bosque's Spain were worthy winners of the competition, and applauded them for silencing their 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 levelled 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.

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