Bordeaux (France): German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer believes his team was the better side and deserved to advance to the European Championship semi-finals after defeating Italy in a dramatic penalty shoot-out.
Mesut Ozil on Saturday gave Germany the lead in the 65th minute but a Leonardo Bonucci penalty 13 minutes later ensured the game went into extra time.
With the scores still locked at 1-1 after 120 minutes in Bordeaux, a shoot-out was to decide who would meet either France or Iceland in the semi-final clash.
German goalkeeper Neuer came up big to deny Bonucci and then Matteo Darmian, with Jonas Hector slotting the winning penalty in a shoot-out that saw seven players fail to find the net.
“I have never experienced a shoot-out like this. I think most of the Italians just aimed into the middle,” Neuer, who was voted man of the match, was quoted as saying by uefa.com.
“The 1-1 score we conceded during regular time was a bit unlucky. But I believe we were the better side and are deservedly through to the semi-finals.”
It was first time the reigning World Champions defeated Italy in a major tournament, a record which stood for over 50 years.
“It was something special to have so many penalty-takers, such drama! We did not manage to beat Italy in 90 minutes. We did not beat Italy in 120 minutes,” the Bayern Munich goalie said.
“Then this shoot-out just fitted that duel between Italy and Germany. It wasn’t that easy. It was a war of nerves,” Neuer added.