Euro: A match to forget for captain Schweinsteiger

Top Stories

Euro: A match to forget for captain Schweinsteiger
Bastian Schweinsteiger touches the ball with his hand as he jumps with France's Patrice Evra, leading to a penalty for France.

Marseille - In this match he will be remembered for his inadvertent handball that came seconds before the halftime whistle

By Agencies

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Published: Fri 8 Jul 2016, 4:20 PM

Last updated: Sat 9 Jul 2016, 12:32 AM

Bastian Schweinsteiger barely put a foot wrong in the first half of Germany's European Championship semifinal against France. It was his hand that got him and his team into trouble.
Battling for position with Patrice Evra at a corner in first-half stoppage time of Thursday's match, Schweinsteiger's raised arm and hand made contact with the ball and referee Nicola Rizzoli pointed to the spot. The 31-year-old Germany captain could only look on as Antoine Griezmann calmly converted the spot kick with the last touch of the first half.
With Griezmann doubling France's lead in the 72nd minute, pouncing on sloppy defending and a ham-fisted clearance by goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, Schweinsteiger's miserable, injury-marred season finally ended - one match too early for his liking.
As Germany pushed for the goals that could turn the match around, Joachim Loew replaced Schweinsteiger in the 79th minute with the more attacking Schalke midfielder Leroy Sane. Loew didn't blame his captain for the penalty, which had echoes of the quarterfinal against Italy, when defender Jerome Boateng gave away a spot kick with a handball.
Up until that moment, Schweinsteiger appeared to be putting his disappointing season behind him with the kind of dominant defensive midfield performance that helped power Germany to World Cup glory in 2014.
But in this match he will be remembered for his inadvertent handball that came seconds before the halftime whistle and decisively swung the momentum France's way.
"It's always bad to concede just before the break," was all Schweinsteiger could say about the incident.
Schweinsteiger's prominent role in the Germany side that won the World Cup in Brazil two years ago must feel like a long time ago to a player who was a midfield cornerstone in a dominant Bayern Munich team, before his move to Old Trafford.
After a strong start, repeated injuries ended his season prematurely. He was not even on the bench when his team beat Crystal Palace to win the FA Cup.
On Thursday night, a tournament that could have salvaged the season ended in more heartache. Schweinsteiger cut a dejected figure as he trudged across the Stade Velodrome turf to console his teammates as France's players celebrated.
"Of course we're sad and disappointed not to reach the final, but that's football," he said. "You're left with empty hands sometimes." 

More news from