Germany crashes out of World Cup after embarrassing defeat by South Korea

Story highlights

Germany loses to South Korea 2-0

Defending champions exit World Cup in first round

Third straight defending champions to fall in group stage

Sweden and Mexico progress from group

CNN  — 

It was a match to forget for the Russians at the Samara Arena as they succumbed to their first loss of the tournament.

A “shocked” Germany became the third straight reigning champion to be knocked out in the group stage at the next World Cup – following Italy and Spain – after losing 2-0 to South Korea in Group F on Wednesday.

In an embarrassingly poor performance Germany went behind in the game’s closing stages when Kim Young-gwon scored following a video review, with Son Heung-min then breaking away – German keeper Manuel Neuer was by this stage in the South Korean half – to add the second.

Just before Germany imploded, defender Mats Hummels fluffed a free header. Had he scored, Germany likely would have staved off elimination.

There was joy for South Korea at the World Cup but dejection for holders Germany.

That result in Kazan, coupled with Sweden’s 3-0 win over Mexico in the other group match in Ekaterinburg, meant the Swedes and Mexico progressed to the round of 16. Sweden and Mexico finished on six points, with the Scandinavians finishing first on goal difference.

“I’m shocked,” Germany coach Joachim Löw told reporters. “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.”

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Didn’t ‘deserve’ it

Germany, in a further humiliation, finished last in the group.

“The disappointment of us being eliminated is just huge,” added Löw. “We didn’t deserve to be winning the World Cup once again. We didn’t deserve to move into the round of 16.”

It was only the second time in Germany’s storied World Cup history that it had failed to progress from the first round, the last occurrence coming in 1938.

Germany’s last-gasp 2-1 win over Sweden in its previous match was understandably considered by many to be the type of result that would get them going after a 1-0 loss to Mexico but it ended up meaning little.

Löw made five changes to the starting lineup from that encounter yet nothing clicked.

Striker Timo Werner – who set the Bundesliga alight last season – failed to make an impact although one could argue he was playing out of position on the wing. He didn’t score the whole tournament and never looked likely.

Holding midfielder Sami Khedira – dropped after the Mexico result – was reinserted with little effect while perennial World Cup scorer Thomas Muller began on the bench. Muller like many of his teammates, had flattered to deceive.

Leon Goretzka, known for his play in the center of midfield, occupied a position on the wing and chose the wrong passing option when Germany created the first good chance in the 14th minute. An early goal and Germany might have scored two or three.

Mesut Ozil at times lacked urgency, which is nothing new.

Half chances came and went, prior to Hummels’ miss off his shoulder in the 87th minute.

“Our team in this match was missing the ease of play and the classiness that we normally display,” Löw said. “Also the dynamism that led to the goalscoring opportunities was not there, so we deserve to be eliminated.”