Germany’s U21s are through to the final of the European Championship in Italy and San Marino after a 4-2 win against Romania. Nadiem Amiri made his first start for the team at the tournament and scored a brace. In an interview with DFB.de editor Maximilian Schwartz, the attacker from TSG 1899 Hoffenheim spoke about the exciting semifinal, Stefan Kuntz’s halftime speech and the character of the team.
DFB.de: Nadiem Amiri, congratulations on advancing to the final. How were those gripping 96 minutes against Romania for you?
Nadiem Amiri: Thank you. That was an insane match. We took the lead during the first half, but didn’t play well and allowed two goals against. If we didn’t have Alex Nübel in goal, then it could have been 3-1 for Romania at halftime. During the second half we were a lot better and were a lot more aggressive going into challenges. Two goals at the end of the game and advancing to the final—that’s just great and it’s an unbelievable feeling.
DFB.de: What did head coach Stefan Kuntz say to the team during halftime?
Amiri: He really went at us. But, we needed to hear that. He asked us whether or not the effort we were putting in was really what people in Germany would remember us for, or if we could turn the match around and show our true selves. We weren’t really present during the first half. His words really shook us up and motivated us. We came out of the dressing room with a completely different body language and even the extreme heat didn’t make a difference to us anymore. We were able to turn the match around through a really strong effort. In the second half we were mentally strong and entirely present.
DFB.de: This is your second time playing in the final at the U21 Euros. And, for the second time, you were the deciding man in the semifinal (Editors note: in 2017 he scored the winning penalty against England).
Amiri: Of course I am unbelievably proud and happy to be in the final at the U21 Euros once again. From the start we knew that we had the right stuff in order to take home the title once again, if we put in the right effort. Every player in the team raves about our team spirit and you can see on the pitch that that’s true. Everyone is there and supports each other, we all push each other and are happy for each other.
DFB.de: You were subbed on in the first three group games, but started your first game in the semi-finals - and paid back your coach's trust with two goals.
Amiri: I'm delighted that I was able to help us reach the final. It wasn't easy for me to get fit in time for the tournament after my injury at the end of the season. Marco Richter then did fantastically well in the first tew games. I was out of the team and then I got my chance. Just like I've already mentioned, we are all pleased for each other. All the subs joined us in celebrating the fourth goal, it was amazing.
DFB.de: You will face Spain again in the final. What kind of game are you expecting on Sunday?
Amiri: They are another strong, who showed that with their convincing win over France. Any team who makes a final deserves to be there. You can't really compare it with the game from two years ago, as both teams have completely changed since then. One thing is for sure though, it will be another exciting and high class game just like in 2017. We now have to recover quickly so that we can produce our strongest performance in the final.