German rookies praised for penalty shootout
GERMANY coach Joachim Loew and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer praised the team's less-experienced players for stepping up to convert in their dramatic penalty shootout against Italy, firing the world champions into the Euro 2016 final four.
While experienced hands Thomas Mueller, Mesut Oezil and captain Bastian Schweinsteiger missed, inexperienced Joshua Kimmich, who made his national team debut only in May, found the net in sudden death.
Minutes later, Jonas Hector, with just 19 international caps to his name, converted the decisive penalty to give Germany a 6-5 shootout victory.
"Usually, we have good penalty takers although they haven't scored today," Loew told journalists. "The experienced players missed and the youngsters scored.
"It was great that youngsters like Kimmich and Hector, in their first major tournament, kept their nerves on such a stage."
Hector told German television: "I can't describe the feeling. I took my heart in my hands and just wanted to score."