Thomas Muller Germany Euro 2020Getty

'A fire could break out, they would still stay on the pitch' - Podolski & Ballack rip into 'unconscious' Germany after Euro 2020 exit

Germany had 'no courage to go forward' and were hampered by 'a lack of ambition', according to several former players, following their Euro 2020 exit against England on Tuesday.

Joachim Low's time in charge of the national team came to a close a decade-and-a-half down the line in defeat at Wembley, to cut short any hopes of a fairy tale finish for the 61-year-old.

Late goals for Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane ensured the end of their tournament run after a wildly fluctuating group-stage performance - but the manner of their loss to the Three Lions clearly struck a chord with figures past and present quick to pass judgement on another lacklustre showing.

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What has been said?

Former Germany skipper Michael Ballack, a member of the squad which finished runners-up at Euro 2008 in Austria and Switzerland before he was overlooked for the South Africa 2010 World Cup, was scathing in his criticism of Low's approach.

"[It was] sobering, unconscious," Ballack stated on MagentaTV . "The first half showed that we had no answers, that we had withdrawn unnecessarily. I don't understand why he waited so long to make his substitutions."

Fredi Bobic, a member of Germany's Euro 1996-winning squad in England, echoed Ballack's frustration over the lack of replacements, adding: "Even in the past, his changes have been questionable.

"[Elimination is] absolutely deserved. We had no courage going forward. Even after going a goal down, we offered nothing, except for one chance. It was very passive, and it is a shame we missed this opportunity."

Podolski slams lack of "absolute will"

Lukas Podolski - a key member of Low's Brazil 2014 World Cup-winning side - slated Germany's attitude, adding that he did not feel they showed the capacity to score against England.

"There was a lack of ambition, a lack of fighting spirit," he told BILD 's podcast. "It all seems so bleak when you see the faces of the players; there's nothing that moves.

"A fire could break out in the stadium, and they would stay on the pitch. We're missing the absolute will to score a goal."

Germany Under-21 boss Stefan Kuntz brought insight into the nation's fragile issues at the back too, adding to ARD : "Our defence was never really good.

"In my opinion, a back three couldn't truly convince that it was stable. It has to play on one line; when it is not possible, you confuse everything. You can only drop deeper and deeper. That was a problem we had throughout the tournament."

The bigger picture

After an extensive reign that has seen two early tournament exits bring a close to an otherwise successful spell in charge of the national team, Low will hand over the reins following his final game at the helm, with Hansi Flick expected to take charge shortly.

Germany will be thrust back into the qualification path for Qatar 2022 in September, as they look to bounce back from the frustrations of defeat at Wembley, in what was their first tournament knockout loss to England since 1966.

They will first travel to Switzerland to face Liechtenstein, before games with Armenia and Iceland round off their first batch of autumn games.

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