BERLIN (AP) – Germans are debating whether their national team's apparent lack of passion about singing the national anthem had anything to do with its loss to Italy at the European Championship.
Wolfsburg coach Felix Magath wrote in a weekend newspaper column that ''those who saw how fervently the Italians sang, even screamed, their anthem could sense the will with which they would approach the following 95 minutes.
''I missed this audible commitment, this readiness to want to give all, in the German team,'' he wrote in the daily Hamburger Abendblatt.
On Monday, the mass-circulation Bild daily asked in a back-page headline: ''Are we patriotic enough?''
''It is downright shameful that not all our players sing along with our anthem,'' conservative lawmaker Hans-Peter Uhl was quoted as saying.
Germany great Franz Beckenbauer added: ''Ardor must begin before kickoff - and singing loudly together helps with that.''
He said he handed out the text of the anthem to players and obliged them to sing it when he was national team coach - a period that included West Germany's 1990 World Cup triumph.
However, Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich, who is responsible for sport, sounded a note of caution.
''Of course I always find it good when people sing their national anthem and show their loyalty to their country and their homeland, and show the emotions that are necessary and good for that,'' Friedrich told Bayern2 radio. ''But on the other hand: one does not have to, after losing a semifinal, look for every possible reason why things didn't work out.''
Coach Joachim Loew has faced a barrage of criticism in German media for altering his lineup and tactics ahead of Thursday's 2-1 defeat by Italy.