Korea Republic beat and eliminated defending champions Germany 2-0 on Wednesday in their FIFA World Cup Group F preliminary round football (soccer) match at the Kazan Arena in Kazan, Russia. Korea Republic is also eliminated. Sweden tops the group ahead of Mexico, where a 1-0 win would have taken Germany through.
It’s the first time in the history of the World Cup that Germany has failed to advance to the knockout stage.
For more than 90 minutes, the score was 0-0 — a tantalizing opportunity for the Taeguk Warriors to seize an upset, and, for German fans, a nausea-inducing dance with fate.
The match had a number of replay reviews and other delays — as official time expired, officials added nine minutes of stoppage time. And that’s when Kim Younggwon found himself standing in front of the net, with the ball at his feet. He chipped it over a sprawling Manuel Neuer to make it 1-0, even as arguments ensued over whether he was offside (officials determined he wasn’t).
With Germany desperate for a result, the team’s goalkeeper roamed into the offensive end — and it was then that South Korea added a late goal to put the match out of reach, collecting a loose ball and shooting it downfield, where it was put away for a 2-0 edge.
With Germany’s loss, Sweden and Mexico advance from Group F. Sweden beat Mexico 3-0 in their match, which was played concurrently with the South Korean shocker.
The loss defines what has been a disastrous World Cup for Germany, a historically fearsome team that suddenly found itself unable to score goals in Russia. Their bad luck continued today, as Mats Hummels was unable to put away a free header from six yards out late in the match.
Germany lost on Wednesday despite dominating in possession — 69 percent to 31 percent — and leading South Korea in shots on goal.
The South Koreans were hit with 16 fouls and four yellow cards, as they fought to find a way to do what many in the sporting world thought was impossible. In the end, they pulled it off thanks in part to taking advantage when they could — and to goalkeeper Cho Hyun Woo, whose seven saves earned him Man of the Match honors.
“I feel great but at the same time I feel a little bit empty, so I feel a little bit ambivalent. Yesterday we said there was only a one per cent chance and so I told my players it really was a last-ditch effort for them and I told them that they had to fight until the end. Germany are the defending champions and No1 in the FIFA Ranking, so I thought about what mistakes Germany might make, because they probably felt they would be able to beat us – that’s what everybody thought. I thought we could use that as a reverse strategy and that has really hit the nail on the head.” Shin Taeyong Korea Republic coach said in the post game presser.
Only six times in history have the champions crashed out in the first round, and four of those have happened since the turn of the millennium. Only Brazil, returning champions in 2002, made it past the group stage. France, Italy, Spain and now Germany – four European giants of the game – have fallen at the first hurdle of their defence.
“At the moment it is hard to say (why we have been eliminated). The disappointment of us being eliminated is just huge. We didn’t deserve to be winning the World Cup once again, we didn’t deserve to move into the Round of 16. Our team in this match was missing the ease of play and the classiness that we normally display. Also the dynamism that led to the goalscoring opportunities was not there, so we deserve to be eliminated.” Joachim Low, Germany coach said after the game.
“I’m shocked. Shocked because we didn’t manage to pull it off and beat Korea Republic and we lost this game. It wasn’t my impression when I spoke to the team before that they were under pressure before the match because the Sweden game was on at the same time and we really had the feeling that our team wanted to move ahead and qualify for the knockout stages.
How do we go from here? We’ll have to talk about it calmly and I think it’s premature for me to say something. It will take me some hours to come to terms with it and I’m incredibly disappointed by this elimination.” Joachim Low, Germany coach added.
Do I think this will bring about a dark time in German football? No, I don’t think so. I think we have young players who are very talented, and some have the potential to go forward. This has happened to other nations before, we just have to draw the right conclusions and make it better going forward.”
A total of 32 national football teams are participating in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, held in 11 cities across Russia between June 14 and July 15.
The teams were divided into eight groups, with four in each, and the top two from their relevant groups will proceed to the next round, known as the playoffs or the knockout stage, to keep vying for the much-coveted FIFA World Cup Trophy.
Russia is holding its first time ever edition of the FIFA World Cup, which kicked off in Moscow with a spectacular opening show at the Luzhniki Stadium on the night of June 14. The World Cup is being held at 12 arenas across 11 cities with the final set to be played at Luzhniki on July 15. The 11 host cities are Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.