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Germany coach Joachim Löw said that Croatia deserved their 2-1 victory in Klagenfurt but expressed confidence in his team's powers of recovery. It was an opinion shared by opposite number Slaven Bilić, for whom the Mannschaft remained strong UEFA EURO 2008™ contenders, although the Croatia coach was more concerned with his own side's superlative display.
Slaven Bilić, Croatia coach
It was a great match and I would like to extend special congratulation to my players, not only for battling hard but also for playing excellent football. There is no other way to beat Germany than to play well. They are a great team and are still one of the title favourites. You cannot allow them to control any part of the pitch and that's how we tried to play against them. For me, this victory is a bigger achievement than beating England at Wembley. I keep getting questions about similarities between this team and the team I played in in 1998. All I can say is that we are Croatians, we play for our fans but we are not the only team who play like this. It was the same in 1998 and it's the same now. We are always emotional, we cannot change that. Even if we wanted to, we don't want to. There are coaches who stay in the dugout and those like me who are more active. I like to take part by giving advice and by being as close as possible to the pitch. Every team here, apart from Switzerland because they have been eliminated, can win the title. The difference in modern football is very small. As for Luka Modrić, he was already a star before this tournament. I keep telling him that he is the best player in Europe but he's not the only great player in our team. My team prove to me day in, day out, in training and out on the pitch that they are world class.
Joachim Löw, Germany coach
It goes without saying that we are all a bit disappointed after losing this match, and looking back at the game through the rear-view mirror I think we deserved to lose – as a team we weren't precise enough or fast enough to really trouble Croatia. We were unable to make our combinations or have a fluid game. The Croatians dropped back after the first goal and we were unable to penetrate their defence, which is why we have to accept our defeat. I'm not surprised that they tried to knock my players out of their rhythm, we were expecting this. I told them beforehand that Croatia would probably put an extra man in midfield and that's what they did. I think that, unfortunately, we played straight into their hands by playing a lot of long balls and crosses. Over the last few years we've had a number of defeats – we've not only been winning games. The team have managed to get over these setbacks and I'm confident we will be able to do so again. It is clear that, had we won, we would have been much closer to the quarter-finals but I'm sure we will be able to perform better on Monday against Austria.
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