You cannot doubt Germany’s will to win, says Nagelsmann after hosts’ exit

Germany became the first host nation to be knocked out of a Euros at the quarterfinals tonight after a nail-biting 2-1 loss to Spain.

In the 89th minute, Florian Wirtz cancelled out Dani Olmo’s earlier opener to take the game to extra time for die Mannschaft – but Spain had the last laugh when Mikel Merino headed home in 119th minute.

What did Julian Nagelsmann say?

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Reflecting on the loss, the head coach said: “The game was too open in the first half. We were better in the second half and from the 60th minute onwards, we were clearly the better team. Our late [equaliser] was well-deserved. We conceded the winner with the last chance. Unfortunately we weren’t able to apply enough pressure on the wing.”

“We invested so much. We had the shot on the goalpost, we had the header in the 122nd minute, I think a draw would have been well deserved. We had the chance of Flo (Wirtz) where he missed the goal only by two centimetres.

 “I told [the players] that they don’t deserve [to exit the competition]. We’re all missing our families, but none of us wanted to leave. From the beginning of these last six weeks […] there’s been a very good atmosphere in the group. You could tell we gave everything to win this game.

“I think what was reproached towards the national team in the past – that they didn’t want to win, that they didn’t show enough will to win – today you couldn’t say that for one second.”

Nagelsmann did touch briefly on a potential penalty incident in extra time where the ball struck Marc Cucurella’s hand. He called for a reassessment of the handball rules to focus less on whether a hand is in an unnatural position.

“You can’t really tell is this natural, is this unnatural? How do you assess it? (Instead) have an extra assessment looking where the ball (would have gone) – did it go into the clouds, did it go towards the goal… in one case it’s a penalty, in the other it’s not.

“We should really assess the intention of the shot, where the shot went towards.”

However, the focus of Nagelsmann’s remarks was very much his team’s remarkable efforts.

“I’m really sad for the team because I think we invested a lot in order to qualify for the next round.

“All of our bench were on their feet towards the end. It’s really hurting and hurting for my team.”

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“I would have liked to have that feeling one more week, together with the supporters. What is also really sad is there will not be another home Euro in my career probably – and what’s also hurting is that you have to wait two more years to become world champion… (laughing) What do you want to hear, that we want to get eliminated in the group stage?”

Finally, Nagelsmann paid tribute to Toni Kroos – who retires after tonight’s defeat.

“It’s impossible to over-appreciate Toni’s career. It’s probably unique for a German player. He’s certainly one of Germany’s biggest players. Everyone knows about his success but not everyone knows about his character. He spoke to the team in a very difficult moment for him personally. He always sees himself as part of this group.”

Spain now wait to learn their opponents from tonight’s clash between Portugal and France, and prepare to face one of the two in a blockbuster semifinal on 9 July.

Follow that game live, and reaction from the teams, here on FromTheSpot.