Kroos retires as Germany Euro dream 'shattered'

Toni Kroos said Spain “shattered” Germany’s dream of a home Euro 2024 triumph after Mikel Merino’s 119th minute goal eliminated the hosts and ended the former Real Madrid midfielder’s career.

Kroos, 34, drew the curtain on his club career by helping Real win a 15th Champions League title last season and had hoped to make it a European double by leading Germany to Euro 2024 glory.

But Spain’s 2-1 win in Stuttgart send Julian Nagelsmann’s team crashing out at the quarterfinal stage, leaving Kroos to reflect on what might have been.

“To be honest, right now the main feeling is that the tournament is over, because we all had a big goal that we wanted to achieve together,” Kroos told reporters. “And this dream we all had has been simply shattered now.”

“We can all be proud because we improved. I am happy to have helped Germany as a football nation to have hope again.

“In the future I am convinced the team will succeed, but today we are sad because we wanted to stay in this competition a bit longer.”

English referee Anthony Taylor issued sixteen yellow cards during the 120 minutes, including a red card for Spain defender Dani Carvajal, which rules the Real full-back out of the semifinal.

Kroos was also booked and fortunate to avoid another yellow card for a foul on Pedri which led to the Spain midfielder being substituted early in the game.

Kroos defended Germany’s physical performance, however.

“I would not say it was the most brutal match, but one where we put everything in,” he said “We did not want to lose, we were so close.

“Now at the moment the exit covers it all. We will realise we played a good tournament, but being so close to reaching the next round is hard.”

Germany coach Julian Nagelsmann said his side did not deserve to be eliminated from the competition having gone close to winning the game in extra-time.

“It’s difficult to hold back the tears,” he said. “They did not deserve to lose today.

“We reacted well after the break. Spain had only two chances in the second half, we were closer to the winner than Spain.

“We hit the post, we had a chance with a header. It hurts, it will take time to make it better, and a home tournament won’t come again in my career, I guess.

“We had a good team that stuck together — you could feel after the 1-0 goal that we were not satisfied, we wanted to give more. If we appeared as in the past with no appetite then it would have been deserved, but the team invested a lot.”

Information from Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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