Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer claimed his side lacked the courage to beat Spain in Wednesday night’s World Cup semi-final.
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Although it took Carles Puyol’s late header to set up a final meeting with Holland at Soccer City on Sunday, in truth, Germany were outplayed.
It was a sad way for Joachim Low’s young team to exit the tournament given the positive impression they had made by knocking four goals past England and Argentina.
But Neuer is confident the defeat will eventually prove to be a valuable lesson for his side.
"We didn’t quite have the courage we needed," he said. "We didn’t show enough attacking intent and we failed to create enough chances.
"We have scored before half-time in almost all our matches, which was always a boost to our confidence but this was different."
Substitute Marcell Jansen was in full agreement.
Although Germany could take plenty of positives from a better-than-expected performance in South Africa, the defender accepts Spain represented a step up in class that his young team-mates could not cope with.
"Spain’s organisation and tactics are in a different league," he said.
"When they attack, the whole team comes forward, and when they defend, they all work together to keep it tight.
"We knew we would have to be patient but we might have tried taking a few more risks. Ultimately we’ve come up a little bit short."