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.

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.

“I think 24 teams are too many,” he said on “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.

Joachim Low
(Petr David Josek/AP)


“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.

Mats Hummels
(Mike Egerton/PA)


“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.