Saturday 24 September 2016

'The qualify is suffering' - Joachim Low and Mats Hummels not happy with 24-team format at Euros

Published 08/07/2016 | 10:04

Germany coach Joachim Low and defender Mats Hummels have criticised the new format for the European Championships which saw 24 nations involved this year, saying the quality has suffered as a result.

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Speaking after Germany were eliminated by the hosts France in the semi-finals on Thursday night, Low proposed a return to 16 nations in future to ensure more excitement.

Despite beating Germany in Dublin and holding the world champions to a draw away from home, Ireland would not have qualified for Euro 2016 if it was a 16-team competition.

"I think 24 teams are too many," he said on sport1.de. "The World Cup's going to be increased to 40 teams and it's getting more and more, and that's a problem in the long term.

"Sometimes you get the feeling it's not doing football any good. The quality is suffering."

Germany faced Ukraine, Poland, Northern Ireland, Slovakia and Italy on their way to the semi-finals while France took on Romania, Albania, Switzerland, Republic of Ireland and Iceland on their way into the last four.

According to Hummels, that meant too many games against inferior opponents who limited themselves to trying to defend a goalless draw, three of which could have been enough to qualify for the last 16.

"The level at this European Championship was not what we had hoped for," Hummels said.

"There were many teams who didn't want to do anything with the ball and just packed men behind the ball."

Nevertheless, Hummels admitted that France were more than a match in Marseille.

"We had to play to our highest level and you can't keep opponents like France in their own half for minutes on end," he said.

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