Football: Strachan upbeat after defeat

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Gordon Strachan was upbeat after Scotland were narrowly beaten 2-1 by Germany in their Euro 2016 qualification Group D clash and admitted he felt his side could have won in Dortmund.
The World champions had dominated the opening stages and Thomas Muller nodded them ahead after18 minutes, but the visitors responded well and found themselves level after the break as Ikechi Anya wrapped up a swift 66th-minute counter-attack to slot beyond Manuel Neuer for the equaliser.
Muller then steered home his second of the evening from close-range just four minutes later, before Charlie Mulgrew was dismissed in stoppage time, but Strachan was proud of his side’s display.
He told Sky Sports: “I thought we were going to get a point, I actually thought we were going to win it at one stage. We had the pace to counter attack.
“I believe at that point our passing was good to get that final pass in. We’ve got no points – we have a performance.
“The next game is a big game so we’re looking forward to that challenge and we’ll take it on when it comes around.”
Scotland were backed a large travelling army of supports at the Signal Iduna Park and they pushed their hosts all the way despite the odds being stacked against them.
“I feel disappointed for the people that have come here to watch us but more so the players,” Strachan added.
“To put in that kind of work, I feel sorry for them. It’s easy for us as coaching staff – we just sit there and watch and try and prepare them.
“They’ve got to go out there against real machines, real physical players and have to deal with running and body contact.
“They’re big enough but they stood up to it. In the second half I thought we were terrific.
“Okay, they’re going to make chances that was going to happen, but we played with a freedom in the second half. I’m really pleased with them.
“First twenty minutes we gave ourselves real problems by giving the ball away. We tried to force an issue when we didn’t need to.
“It gave them twenty minutes of comfortable possession which allowed them to use their tactics better than ours. We really couldn’t get our tactics working the first twenty minutes because we couldn’t keep the ball.
“We kind of rectified that after about twenty minutes and the game became more comfortable for us – especially the second half.”
Strachan was reluctant to comment on the refeering performance, despite Erik Durm escaping with a booking for pulling back Steven Naismith when through on goal and the full-time whistle being blown when his side had been awarded a corner.
“It’s not up to me to talk about the referee,” he said. “There’s things on there that I think I’ll leave to the referee’s assessor.
“It would be fantastic to actually have a look at it and see what is said because the game compares the referees to footballers, but I’ll let other people discuss them.”
Meanwhile, goalkeeper David Marshall admitted his disappointment after also feeling that Scotland were on top after Anya’s equaliser.
“We were probably the team in the ascendency when we got the goal back,” he said.
Speaking of Anya’s goal, Marshall said: “It was a great finish. When you see someone of his stature (Neuer) come to you it can put the frighteners on you, but Ikechi kept his head.”
Germany are the hot favourites to top Group D and Marshall believes the performance demonstrated Scotland’s credentials to qualify for a first major tournament since 1998.
“It shows how well we’ve done, we’ve come off disappointed to just lose a game 2-1 in Germany,” he said.

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