Julian Nagelsmann calls for revision of handball rule after Germany defeat

<span>Julian Nagelsmann told his Germany players they had not deserved to be knocked out of Euro 2024 by Spain.</span><span>Photograph: Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images</span>
Julian Nagelsmann told his Germany players they had not deserved to be knocked out of Euro 2024 by Spain.Photograph: Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

Julian Nagelsmann insisted that he did not feel that Germany had been robbed despite not being awarded a late penalty that might have seen them go through against Spain, but he did say that the handball rule should be revised.

He also told his players that they had not deserved to be knocked out and called Germany’s togetherness at the tournament a lesson for society.

Related: Mikel Merino breaks hosts’ hearts as Spain send Germany out of Euro 2024

Jamal Musiala’s shot was heading towards goal when it hit Marc Cucurella’s hand in extra time with the score at 1-1 before a late Mikel Merino header finally knocked the hosts out of Euro 2024.

“When it happened, I couldn’t see it well and all I was thinking was: I hope it is a penalty, while the Spanish were thinking: I hope it is not a penalty,” Nagelsmann said. “Afterwards I saw it on television more clearly but at that time that is all I could think. They were more lucky than we were.

“There is a rule and I hope there is no wrong decision. They applied the rule and it was not a penalty. I do not feel cheated. For me the question is about making it more practical, more logical, in terms of how this [handball] rule is assessed. I say this for football [in general] not today. You look at the hand, if it is at 3 o’clock, if it is a bit higher or a bit lower. But there are people with bigger muscles than me, different movements.

“I don’t understand why we don’t take into account what is happening with the ball. If Musiala kicks it towards Stuttgart centre and it hits the hand, I won’t say anything. But it was going towards goal. And for me, you should look at where it is going. Is it going into the clouds or is it going in the goal? In one case it is a penalty, in the other it is not. If it is going into the stands, then it is no penalty. The rule should be simpler. You can’t talk about intentions. You have to see where the ball is aimed. We have 50 robots that bring us our coffee so there should be an AI that calculates where the ball is going.”

He added: “In the second half we reacted, after the 60 minutes we were clearly the better team with many clear chances and towards the end, that we scored was well deserved. With the exception of the first five minutes of second half of extra time, it was almost only us that wanted to win. We invested so much. We hit the post, we had a header, we had a chance we missed by two centimetres and with the last chance we conceded.

“I told the players we didn’t deserve this. There was a great togetherness. In six weeks we did not have a single situation in which I had to intervene. We had a very good atmosphere. The accusations of the past – that we didn’t want to win – wasn’t seen for a second. We are a country that is too sad in too many situations, with a dark perspective on things, and I hope this symbiosis can create something. We are stronger with unity, when we think about what we can do together; together with your neighbour you are stronger. This unity here felt good.”