Euro 2024: Germany embracing fans' expectations, says Nagelsmann

Kai Havertz and Jamal Musiala's second-half goals sent Germany into the quarterfinals

By Reuters

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Germany's Jamal Musiala celebrates after scoring his team's second goal. — AFP
Germany's Jamal Musiala celebrates after scoring his team's second goal. — AFP

Published: Sun 30 Jun 2024, 12:19 PM

Germany's first knockout victory at a major tournament in eight years will raise fans' expectations that a former powerhouse of the sport are returning to their best at Euro 2024, but the players will not feel pressure, coach Julian Nagelsmann said.

Kai Havertz and Jamal Musiala's second-half goals sent Germany into the quarterfinals. The game was suspended for 20 minutes in the first half due to the weather before Danish defender Joachim Andersen went from hero to zero when his close-range finish was disallowed for offside and he conceded a penalty converted by Havertz in the 53rd minute.

The hosts were scintillating at the start of their 2-0 win over Denmark on Saturday, with Nagelsmann describing their first 20 minutes as "the best of the whole tournament", before the elements and the Danes dragged Germany into a tricky contest.

"I think we have no more pressure than usual," Nagelsmann told reporters. "I think the fans and also the expectation of our fans is a big push for us.

"We can deal with the pressure. For me, it's still a privilege and we also tell the players it's a privilege to play soccer games under pressure. All the players are used to dealing with it, so it's no problem."

Germany's victory was ultimately a comfortable one and they could have won by more than two goals but for good saves by Kasper Schmeichel and wastefulness in front of goal.

The hosts also got the better of a second-half sliding doors moment, with Denmark defender Joachim Andersen at the centre of it.

Andersen thought he had given Denmark the lead but his goal was disallowed for a narrow offside against Thomas Delaney, before the defender's arm was struck by a David Raum cross to concede the penalty which put Germany ahead in the 53rd minute.

Nagelsmann said the offside call was close.

"I understand that Denmark are annoyed (by the penalty decision), it's quite harsh but that's how the rule is.

"Yes, (Andersen) did just run, he didn't do it intentionally, but that is the rule.

"So I would also be annoyed if it were the other way around, but I would have to accept the rule."

Germany could have won by a larger margin, but Florian Wirtz had a late effort ruled out for offside and Schmeichel made a fine save to deny Havertz from close range.

"It feels really good," Germany defender and player of the match Antonio Rudiger told German television station ZDF.

"I think everybody who watched the match will be of the opinion that we were dominant from the start. The only criticism you can have is that we missed too many chances."

Meanwhile, Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand complained about the VAR decisions which went against his side in the match, suggesting they were not what the technology is supposed to be used for.

"It was decided by two VAR decisions," Hjulmand told reporters, referring to Joachim Andersen goal that was eventually ruled out following a VAR check which showed Thomas Delaney was just offside before setting up the goal.

"I have the photo here, it was one centimetre," Hjulmand complained of the offside decision against Andersen while holding up his phone.

"When a decision is good it should be visible from the moon, and it should not depend on a few centimetres.

"In terms of statistics and data, it doesn't make sense. It's not how we are supposed to be using VAR. It's one centimetre.

"And one minute later there was a penalty. I'm so tired of the ridiculous handball rules, we cannot ask our defenders to run without their arms.

"Joachim was running normally. It's a normal situation, he jumped and was hit from one metre. I rarely talk about these situations but it was very decisive for this game."


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