Defending champions Germany crash out of Football World Cup with defeat to Korea

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Defending champions Germany have been knocked out of the Football World Cup 2018 in Russia, going down 2-0 to South Korea in Kazan.

Kim Young-gwon opened scoring in the 92nd minute after a video review. Then six minutes into stoppage time Son Heung-min tapped the ball into an empty net as German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer joined the attack.

The loss means Germany finish last in Group F with one victory and two defeats, while South Korea also bow out in third position.

Group winners Sweden progress to the knockout stages alongside Mexico.

THE CHAMPIONS’ CURSE?

The match was in many ways indicative of the reigning champions’ form in Russia. Germany have never looked the real deal.

A win would have sent Germany though, but nerves played their part in this stunning result.

Neuer gifted South Korea an early opportunity, spilling a free kick, but managed to recover and slap the ball away.

An edgy Germany stepped up the pressure after half-time, searching for the winner.

But despite dominating the second half, they couldn’t break down a tenacious South Korean side, and the final blow failed to come.

Germany are now the fourth defending champions to exit at the group stage in the past five World Cups.

To add to the Europeans’ woes, Germany haven’t been eliminated in a World Cup first round since 1938 (when the tournament was a straight knockout).

The four-time world champions had never before failed to progress from the group stages.

Now what Germany?

The Germans began their Russia campaign as one of the tournament favourites. The side of manager Joachim Loew went undefeated in World Cup Qualifying and won the Confederations Cup 2017.

Their shock 1-0 loss to Mexico in their opening group match already revealed the team’s problems in every department.

Toni Kroos secured a last-gasp 1-0 win against Sweden in game two to breathe new life into the Germans. But to no avail.

Loew, who had extended his contract through to 2022, right before the World Cup kicked off, did not have the answers to Germany’s problems.

German media were speculating if he will be able to keep his job after this embarrassing exit.

“At the moment it is hard to say why we were eliminated,” he said at his post-match press conference. “The disappointment of us being eliminated is huge.”

“We didn’t deserve to win this World Cup. We didn’t deserve to move into the round of 16.”

Auf Wiedersehen Germany!

If you want to relive the final of the Olympic football tournament at Rio 2016 between Germany and Brasil, here it is.

 

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Author: Andrew Binner
Andrew is an Olympic Channel news producer and perennially-injured winger.