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Germany class fills Löw with optimism

Joachim Löw believes his Germany team have enough youth and quality to continue shining for years to come while his Greece counterpart Fernando Santos is already planning ahead.

Germany class fills Löw with optimism
Germany class fills Löw with optimism ©UEFA.com

Germany coach Joachim Löw said he was proud of his players after they produced another impressive performance that saw them past Greece and into the semi-finals of UEFA EURO 2012. His opposite number, Fernando Santos, admitted his side lost out to the better team.

Joachim Löw, Germany coach
First of all, I would like to say it was a fantastic performance from our team. For the fourth time in a row, we have qualified for the semi-final of a major tournament. Nobody thought we could have done that back in 2004. We have won 15 games in a row. We are the youngest team at this tournament and have great prospects for the future. I am proud of my players. We absolutely deserved to win tonight.

Greece scored two goals out of one chance. We were good from the start but perhaps the only thing I can say is that we didn't take advantage of our chances early on. I was irritated at that stage and my emotions are expressed at times like that.

After three wins here, I wasn't dissatisfied with my team in the slightest, but I had been planning on making the changes to the lineup for a while. I thought we had to be unpredictable against Greece, because I felt they would be ready for us. It is good to be cheeky like that from time to time. I thought the plan worked out quite well. Looking ahead, I think the four teams in the semi-finals will be serious contenders for the title. We know from now on games of this magnitude are decided by small details, and we can't allow a single mistake.

Fernando Santos, Greece coach
Firstly, I would like to congratulate Germany, who played really well and got their win. I would also like to congratulate my team for all of the efforts they put in throughout this tournament. In tonight's game, we didn't find much space, and they had the majority of possession. We should have looked to hold on to the ball more, but we practically couldn't breathe at times. Despite our efforts in defence, we conceded a first goal that made things more difficult for us.

During the break, we told the players to try to correct some defensive mistakes while taking more initiative in attack. I told them that if we scored, the game would change. We went out with determination and scored, but we then conceded again quickly and that clipped our wings. My players deserve credit though because they fought until the very last minute. 

[We were missing the suspended] Giorgos Karagounis, who is a very important player for us as he can keep the ball which gives his team-mates a breather. Had we had that we would not have conceded four goals. We weren't expecting so many changes to Germany's lineup. Their coach wanted to change to freshen things up, and for me it was the right move on his part. We will try to correct a few things now and hope to be better at the beginning of the World Cup qualifiers.