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Last Updated: Saturday, 24 June 2006, 18:07 GMT 19:07 UK
Lagerback attacks Lucic dismissal
Sweden coach Lars Lagerback
Sweden coach Lars Lagerback felt the referee's decision to send off Teddy Lucic was key to Germany's 2-0 victory.

The defender was sent off by Brazilian official Carlos Eugenio Simon after 35 minutes with the Swedes two goals down.

Lagerback said: "I don't want to speak about the referee but he had some influence on the game.

"Maybe the referee did not stand up to the pressure. It's tough enough to play a side like Germany with 11 men, let alone with 10."

Lucic was dismissed for two bookable offences, the second when the former Leeds defender was harshly adjudged to have pulled the shirt of Miroslav Klose.

Torsten Frings approached the referee immediately after the incident and appeared to ask for Lucic to be sent off.

My players showed a lot of character

Lars Lagerback

The official then produced a second yellow for the centre-back leaving Sweden down to 10 men for 55 minutes.

Sweden were comfortably beaten after two strikes in the first 12 minutes by Lucas Podolski.

Apart from Henrik Larsson's missed penalty, Sweden rarely troubled the German goal and were subjected to a barrage of shots from the German attack.

But despite Germany's dominance, Lagerback was proud of his side's performance.

He added: "My players showed a lot of character.

"I'm very proud of the way they played in the second half but we let in two easy goals at the beginning. After that it was very difficult for us."

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