Cesare Prandelli, Italy coach
We prepared very well for this game. Of course you need to actually get things right on the day. We knew they were very good on the flanks – we wanted to keep the ball and knock it about in midfield. We took a bit of a risk but got Antonio Cassano on the ball in one-on-ones and that allowed Mario Balotelli to get into space high up the pitch.
Balotelli was excellent just like the entire team were. I really need a team to have an idea, and Balotelli subscribed to this. He was always available, ran high up the pitch and did very well. He was in the game, he was very focused, concentrated and did exactly what I asked of him. I took him off because I saw he was struggling and didn’t want to risk him.
I am very proud of these players – I don’t want it all to be about me. Germany are a good side, but we have a good idea about how to play the game.
We’ve always tried to play football right from the outset – the players have really bought into what we’re trying to do. We tried to play football right from the start against Germany. I always wanted to focus on this style as we have a lot of quality.
We have no time to celebrate, just concentrate on the next game which is the biggest. When you dream, you only dream big – so this is the beginning. Spain are a terrific side, but we will prepare very well like we did tonight. I think it will be an open game and we’ll start on a level footing in that respect.
Joachim Löw, Germany coach
We lost our organisation after the first, avoidable, goal and then the second came. We made mistakes and paid the price. In the second half our team showed real heart and tried everything but could not get the goal.
If I look back on the team selection it’s easy to say I could have changed something. Mario Gomez scored three goals and has done well in training. I wanted Toni Kroos in the team so he could get among the Italy midfielders. When we conceded the first we couldn’t get back into the game for a little while. I had to make some substitutions, I had to risk everything and try something.
We’ve had two great years, the team has developed very well, winning 15 [competitive] games in a row. We lost today against a very strong Italy team who have a great spine and two quick strikers. They were just a bit better – you have to acknowledge that and they were more clinical than us. Cesare Prandelli has changed this team around; they have more of an offensive philosophy. I expected Italy to play like this; if they take the lead it is very difficult, but we should have got it back to 2-1 earlier.
We still played a great tournament and we have really moved forward. We won four games and lost one. This team has given us a lot of joy, against Portugal, the Netherlands, so we have to give them a real compliment. We have caught up with other nations and at the top of the game – there will be more chances in the future.