One minute from being crowned champions of Europe, Germany were left reeling by Elton Acolatse's 81st-minute goal and a Marc Stendera penalty miss that denied them a first UEFA European Under-17 Championship trophy since 2009 – a trophy they practically had in their hands. A trio of devastated Germany players spoke to UEFA.com after their penalty shoot-out defeat, and the blame was squarely pointed at luck, or rather their lack of it.
Leon Goretzka, midfielder and captain
It's always hard to lose in a final. Not just for me, but for the whole team. We were really close, but then they score a goal almost at the end. It was a surprise for all of us. That was their moment. After that there were penalties and of course they were in the better position, and luck was on their side.
Yes, we prepared for the penalties, but in training it is a bit different than it was today. It is all about the luck. We didn't have it but we will never forget this tournament, it was really an amazing experience. We had a great time together. It's the first time for us to be abroad for such a long time, and at first we were nervous, but as time went by we felt more relaxed. We played against good teams, and I think we grew as football players.
Jeremy Dudziak, defender
This is the hardest point of my career, the feeling is awful. It is very hard to put it into words but all the players are very down right now. The goal came at such a bad moment – everything was going so well, we didn't think that anything like this was going to happen. Ultimately, though, life goes on.
Pascal Itter, defender
We were two big teams going eye to eye in a very tough match. But all the guys are very unlucky today. We played well, but we conceded a goal at the worst time and it was very bad luck. Then for the penalties, our luck deserted us again. It was the biggest moment of our careers, and we hoped for more. We played a great tournament, putting in some good performances in our matches, and we have good players – the whole team is very strong. So things can be better for the future.
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