Russia 2018 : Germany Crashes Out
World Cup holders Germany are out at the group stage for the first time since 1938 as 2-0 defeat against South Korea sent them home as Kim Young-Gwon and Heung-min Son scored in added time.
Having reached at least the semi-finals under Joachim Low, many expected Toni Kroos’ late goal against Sweden last time out would have kick-started their tournament.
Mesut Ozil was recalled for their final Group F game, though they remained lethargic in possession and without a clinical touch in front of goal.
South Korea could have had Germany on the ropes inside twenty minutes when, after Sami Khedira gave away a free-kick, Manuel Neuer was left scrambling across his goal to deny Heung-min Son having spilled the initial effort.
The Germans were disjointed in their efforts to breakdown South Korea, going into the break level.
Things got worse for Low after the break as, in Ekaterinburg, Sweden were beginning to run away with it against Mexico.
A goal though and the holders would still be going through as Low threw Mario Gomez on in the place of Khedira though the South Koreans held firm.
Questions will remain over the exclusion of Manchester City’s Leroy Sane, whose pace and craft could well have helped in Kazan.
Late chances for Mats Hummels and, off the bench, Julian Brandt could have seen them through after the Koreans had wasted chance after chance on the bench.
Germany were handed late hope when the fourth official’s board showed an inexplicable six minutes added time.
Two minutes in and, after a scramble in the German penalty box, Young-Gwon poked home after Toni Kroos flicked the ball back to him.
The linesman’s flag initially cut the celebrations short, however, after a lengthy review American referee Mark Geiger awarded the goal.
The Germans pushed, with Neuer on the halfway line, but still could not find a way through.
Their efforts saw Son given the chance to claim his second goal of the World Cup, charging through onto an empty goal before sliding home.