Nagelsmann fumes at handball rule, wants AI help

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Germany manager Julian Nagelsmann railed against the decision not to award his side a handball in Friday’s Euro 2024 quarterfinal defeat to Spain that saw the hosts exit the competition.

Germany equalised in the 89th minute to send the game to extra time at 1-1, only for Spain’s Mikel Merino to score a 119th-minute winner.

However, the game could have been set on a different course had Germany’s appeals for a penalty not been waved away when the ball struck Marc Cucurella’s hand in extra time.

Nagelsmann criticised the decision, saying the impact of the potential handball — stopping a shot that was destined to be on target — should be taken into consideration, adding that modern technology could make the process seamless.

“I don’t want to talk too much about it [the handball],” Nagelsmann said, “but it would be nice if it would be assessed what is the intention. It’s not possible in football if someone shoots into the stand and hits a hand, it’s never [a penalty], but when [the ball is] clearly going towards goal and hits a hand, you can’t talk about intention.

“You have to see where the shot is aimed. We have 50 robots bringing us coffee, so there should be an AI calculating crosses, shots, where they are going. It’s quite simple. We should really assess where the shot is going, but that is not the only reason we lost the game.”

Nagelsmann congratulated Spain on their victory but was disappointed for his players after the huge effort they put in.

“The whole game was too open, and then in the second half, we reacted with our personnel in a good way and we came better into the game,” Nagelsmann said. “And after the 60th minute, we were clearly the better team with many clear chances and towards the end I think that we scored was well deserved.

“With the exception of the first five minutes of the second half of extra time, I think it was almost only us who wanted to win.”

Despite the hosts’ exit from the tournament, the manager was positive about how they approached Euro 2024 and said that he hopes his squad can also be a uniting force in the country.

“I think what was reproached towards the national team in the past, that they didn’t want to win, that they didn’t show enough will to win, I think today you couldn’t see that for one second,” Nagelsmann said.

“The players invested everything on the pitch. I said to them they should take that with them, that we are a country where too much is said in too many situations, looking at many situations with a very dark perspective.”

“I hope that this symbiosis between football supporters and the national team can happen also in the midst of our society, that we understand as a society that we can create something, that we can move things,” he added.

Information from Reuters contributed to this report.

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