Lehmann backs Germany vs. 'team of kids' Spain

Former Germany goalkeeper Jens Lehmann has said he fancies the Euro 2024 hosts’ chances against “inexperienced” Spain in their quarterfinal clash on Friday, sparking an angry reaction in Spanish media.

The match between Spain and Germany in Stuttgart, Germany is being billed as a showdown between the two best teams at the tournament so far.

However Lehmann — who played 61 times for Germany, including in their defeat to Spain in the Euro 2008 final, and is now a pundit on German television — highlighted what he said were weaknesses in the Spain side.

“We’ve seen the good results [Spain] have had, without doubt, in the group phase,” he told Welt TV. “In terms of technique, they might be better than us. But they’re small in terms of height, and they’re inexperienced.

“They’re a team of kids. They have very young players. They don’t have much international experience.”

Those comments have not gone down well in Spain. Wednesday’s frontpage of country’s biggest sports newspaper, Marca, read: “Lehmann, the historic German goalkeeper, is another one who doesn’t take us seriously.”

Spain were the only team to earn maximum points in the group stage, winning all three of their games against Croatia, Italy and Albania in Group B, without conceding a goal.

Barcelona youngster Lamine Yamal, 16, has starred for them in attack so far, as well as Athletic Club’s Nico Williams, 21.

Hosts Germany topped Group A, kicking off the tournament with a 5-1 win over Scotland, beating Hungary 2-0 and then drawing 1-1 with Switzerland.

“It’s another opinion, it’s respectable, but we don’t share it,” Spain forward Mikel Oyarzabal said on Tuesday, when asked about Lehmann’s comments. “We know we’re a group that makes a great team. People will have their reasons for saying what they think, but it doesn’t affect us.”

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