I have added some pictures from when the German National team leaves Warsaw Airport 29 June 2012
You can view the rest of the pictures in the gallery here
Mesut Özil cannot understand why Germany’s Euro 2012 exit received such bad publicity and why Joachim Löw’s future as coach was cast in doubt.
Germany lost 2-1 to Italy in the semi-finals having set a new world record of 15 consecutive wins in competitive matches, yet the German media have been strongly critical of the national team’s performance in Poland and Ukraine.
Özil, who was on the receiving end of much of the criticism, told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper the negative reporting is misplaced.
“All this discussion just for one narrow defeat…we could have scored three goals in the opening stages of the match and now the coach is meant to be able to prevent that?” said the Real Madrid man.
“Since I have been involved (with Germany), we have received lots of praise, particularly from abroad, and now everything is supposed to be wrong?”
Özil feels Germany’s record-breaking run of victories should be the main memory of Euro 2012 and not their defeat to Italy.
“We should not only look at single results,” he said. “We have won 15 games in a row with this team,” he said.
“To win a title, a lot of things have got to come together and that includes having luck.
“I am completely against making things out to be bad. We have been in four semi-finals and that is a great achievement.
“Of course we also want to win a title and we are doing all we can for it, but it is not so easy.”
It has been claimed that certain members of the Mannschaft squad reacted negatively to the changes the coach made for the last-four encounter with the Azzurri in Warsaw
Die Mannschaft were heavy favourites to progress to the tournament decider given they had won their previous 15 competitive internationals and boast a 100 per cent record at the Euros heading into the last-four clash, but they succumbed to a Mario Balotelli double, with Özil’s late penalty proving in vain.
Low has been castigated over his team selection, with reports suggesting that some of the changes he made caused unrest in the dressing room, but the 52-year-old coach has the full support of Özil.
“We should not change everything because of one result,” the Real Madrid attacking midfielder told Welt am Sonntag. “We won 15 games with the same team.
“Because of one tight result, the three games in the group stage are being overlooked and now there is a discussion over sacking the coach. We have got a lot of praise for many years now, especially from abroad, so how is that everything is suddenly all wrong?
“To win a title, everything must be right. But you also need some luck. To have been in the semi-finals four times in a row [going back to the 2006 World Cup] is a great achievement.
“We’re doing everything to win a title but it’s not so easy.”
Germany have triumphed in just one of their four successive semi-finals, against Turkey at Euro 2008, but they were ultimately beaten by Spain in the final.
WARSAW (Reuters) – A touch of star quality from Mario Balotelli plus a familiar mixture of experience and canny defending saw Italy quash a young Germany side 2-1 on Thursday and book a place in the Euro 2012 final against holders Spain.
The semi-final victory thanks to Balotelli’s first-half double extended Italy’s unbeaten run against Germany in major tournaments to eight games and Mesut Özil’s late consolation penalty only disguised what was a comprehensive success.
There was real desperation about three-time champion Germany’s attempts to get back into the game from early in the second half and, before Italy defender Federico Balzaretti’s late handball in the area, all they could muster was a series of hopeful crosses despite forcing 14 corners.
Italy missed a host of chances to make it 3-0 and put the game beyond any doubt after Balotelli had left the field complaining of cramp just after the hour.
The game’s highlight was the 21-year-old striker’s stunning second goal late in the first half, created when he peeled away from his marker to latch onto a Riccardo Montolivo through ball and drive it high into the net.
“The career of Mario Balotelli has only just begun. He’s brilliant, but this was a team effort,” said Italy coach Cesare Prandelli.
“We have played an extraordinary game. We have given an example of how to show grace and an attachment to the shirt.”
Italy midfielders Andrea Pirlo and Daniele De Rossi, with more than 160 caps between them, orchestrated a recovery from a whirlwind start by Germany that saw Pirlo clear off the line and a ball deflected off Andrea Barzagli slide past his own post.
Gianluigi Buffon, in his 119th appearance for the Italians, also made a string of fine saves in the first half and touched Marco Reus’s rasping second-half free kick onto the bar.
“At the start we had things well under control without getting a lot of clear chances,” said Germany coach Joachim Loew. “After falling behind we weren’t so clear and organized anymore.”
“If we had got the goal sooner it would have been a different match. It’s very difficult against a team like Italy to fall behind 2-0. They defend with everything they have.”
A pulsating first half was a welcome breath of fresh air after a knockout stage that had been lacking in goals and was a return to the open, attacking football which had marked most of the group games staged by co-hosts Poland and Ukraine.
For the fourth tournament running, Loew’s commitment to youth has seen the Germans play some of the most exciting football – taking maximum points from their group games and scoring nine goals in getting to the semi-finals.
The coach, who had overseen a perfect winning run of 15 competitive games since the 2010 World Cup, blamed loose defending for Thursday’s surprise defeat.
Balotelli’s opener came against the run of play after Antonio Cassano – a handful all night – had twisted past defenders Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng to curl a perfect centre across the six-yard box after 20 minutes.
“Mats shouldn’t have speculated like that,” Löw said. “If he had just stood there Cassano couldn’t have turned on him like that. The cross shouldn’t have been allowed either.”
There was also nothing the wide open Germany defense could do to stop Balotelli’s second goal which he struck perfectly on the run as the ball took a slight bounce in front of him.
Italy, seeking their second European title after their 1968 triumph on home soil, now face world champions Spain in the showpiece match on Sunday in Kiev, a rematch of a surprisingly open 1-1 draw in the teams’ first game at the finals.
Balotelli, now joint top scorer at the tournament with three goals, has the chance to claim the golden boot against a Spanish side who have tended to play without a recognized striker.
“Can we just not enjoy this evening?” Prandelli told reporters when asked about the final at the post-match news conference. “Let’s not talk about Spain because we’ll get worked up. They’re a terrific side.”
Mesut posted this on facebook today, ahead of semifinal tomorrow vs Italy:
“Schuften für den Erfolg. Das letzte Training in Danzig. Heute fliegen wir nach Warschau zum Halbfinalspiel.
Work for success. The last training in Gdansk. Today we fly to Warsaw for the semifinal game.
Basari icin calismak. Danzig de son antremana ciktik. Bugün yari Final karsilasmasi icin Varsova ya ucuyoruz.. Desteklerinizle..
Followed by this picture
Euro 2012: Germany v Italy
Venue: National Stadium, WarsawDate: Thursday, 28 June Kick-off: 20:45
Mesut Özil says Germany will beat Italy in Thursday’s Euro 2012 semi-final if they play to their potential.
Özil, 23, knows a German win, coupled with Spain beating Portugal, would see a repeat of the Euro 2008 final.
On that occasion Spain won 1-0, and Özil wants Germany to make amends.
“If we play to our potential we’ll come up winners [against Italy],” he said. “Our objective is to bring the trophy back to Germany. That’s what we’re here for and I’m convinced we can do it.”
The last time Italy faced Germany in a major competition was in Dortmund at the World Cup in 2006.
On that occasion the hosts were stunned by two Italian goals in extra time and were eliminated from the competition at the semi-final stage.
This time around Germany have had an extra 48 hours to prepare, having overcome Greece 4-2 on Friday. Italy saw off England on penalties after a 0-0 draw two days later, but Özil dismissed suggestions that Germany have an advantage.
“The Italians will have enough of a break,” he commented.
“Italy are very strong, they are technically superbly organised. Even against the reigning world champions Spain they had a fantastic game in the group stages.
“They’re absolutely rightly there where they belong.”
Real Madrid midfielder Özil set up two of Germany’s four goals in the quarter-final win over Greece and is hopeful he can have a similar impact on Thursday.
“I was immensely happy to have shown what I can do at last,” he said. “I will demonstrate in the game against Italy that I can put my foot on the pedal.”
Germany star Mesut Özil is confident that Joachim Loew’s side will overcome Italy in the Euro 2012 semi-finals en route to the trophy.
The playmaker, who has been an integral part of the German team with three assists, also singled out two players from the opposing camp as potential threats.
“The past does not matter. The other teams have great respect for us. Our goal is to bring the European title back to Germany,” he said.
“We are here for this. We can beat Italy and we want the title.
“Andrea Pirlo is a world-class player, Mario Balotelli is a great striker. But we do not think of the individual adversaries. Italy are a very compact team, but we can beat them.”
Despite his confidence, Özil refused to get carried away as talk of a Germany-Spain final escalated.
“It would be wrong for me to say Germany against Spain would be a ‘dream final’,” he said.
“There are four teams in the semi-finals and we need to make the next step, which also applies to Spain.
“We’re fully concentrated on Italy and Italy only, and only then will we see who we play against.
“At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter, does it? Whether it’s Spain or Portugal.”
Loew was hoping the midfielder would put in a big performance in their quarter-final against Greece and he duly delivered with two assists in a 4-2 win.
“I was immensely happy for me to have shown what I can do at last,” Özil said.
“I will demonstrate in the game against Italy that I can put my foot on the pedal.”
Germany star Bastian Schweinsteiger looks set to be given the all-clear for Thursday’s Euro 2012 semi-final against Italy with midfield partner Mesut Özil emphasising how much the Germans “need him”.
The 27-year-old Schweinsteiger has been struggling to recover from an ankle injury and was below-par in Friday’s 4-2 win over Greece, but as the Germans’ chief playmaker, he is a key part of their bid to win Euro 2012.
Germany play Italy in the semi-final in Warsaw on Thursday and the Bayern Munich star is expected to be fit to face the Azzurri.
“He has problems with the ankle, which has been treated intensively in the last few days, we assume he will be fit to play,” said Germany’s goalkeeping coach Andreas Köpke on Monday.
Having torn ankle ligaments in February, Schweinsteiger admitted Sunday the joint has still not fully recovered, but Özil said he is needed against the Azzurri.
“We need Schweinsteiger, He is a class player and one of our leaders,” said Real Madrid star Özil after Schweinsteiger set up both Germany’s goals in their 2-1 win over Holland in their second group match.
“He has been injured, but I think he is on a good track.
“You could see how important he is for the team in our match against Holland (a 2-1 victory in the group stage), I am keeping my fingers crossed he will play.”