Durban: Germany showed a lack of courage against European champions Spain and paid the price with a 1-0 defeat in their World Cup semi-final, coach Joachim Loew and his players said after Wednesday`s match.
Loew, who has now seen his team fall to the Spaniards in both the tournaments he has been in charge for after they also lost in the Euro 2008 final by the same score, said Spain were the best team in the world at the moment.
"This is a well-oiled team that has been playing together for two or three years with almost the exact same players. We, on the other hand, had some inhibitions during the game but it`s difficult to explain why and what kind so soon after the match."
"We did not have the courage and conviction to fully play our game. We were made to work hard to get the ball because they have such good ball circulation," said the 50-year-old, whose future with the team will be decided later this month.
The Germans, who came to the tournament with their youngest World Cup team in 76 years, failed to get an early goal as they did in their last two games against England and Argentina.
"There is great disappointment," said goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, who had no chance to keep out Carles Puyol`s powerful header in the 73rd minute that handed Spain the ticket for their first World Cup final where they will face Netherlands.
"We just could not find ways to attack, to go forward. We did not get the early goal as in the previous two matches and we were lacking a bit of courage," he said.
Striker Miroslav Klose said the Spaniards gave them almost no opportunities to get possession and launch their trademark quick counter-attacks.
"We could not play our game tonight," said Klose, who can still equal former Brazil forward Ronaldo`s World Cup record goal tally of 15 in Germany`s third-place playoff match on Saturday against Uruguay in Port Elizabeth.
"We tried to get into the one-on-ones quickly but by the time we got there the ball was already gone," said Klose, who has scored 14 goals in three World Cups.
"They had a lot of possession and we were made to run a lot but credit to Spain who deserved to win tonight," said the 32-year-old striker.