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.
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.”