KAZAN (Russia): Reigning World Cup champion Germany failed to reach the knockout stage of the 2018 FIFA World Cup after a 2-0 loss against South Korea on Wednesday in Kazan, Russia.
South Korea's Kim Young-gwon scored the first goal of the game in the third minute of added time. Son Heung-min made it 2-0 in the sixth minute of added time.
The Germans, who have won four World Cups and finished runners-up four times, entered this year's tournament heavily backed to retain their title. Instead, they will head home after an unbelievable defeat.
The Germans needed the three points for their qualification hopes to be secure, however, a much-changed side from Saturday failed to break down the South Korean resistance, even as the Swedes progressed at the champions' cost with an emphatic 3-0 victory over Mexico,
According to ANI, this continues the trend of reigning World Cup champions failing to make it to the knockout rounds in recent editions, with Germany becoming the third successive champions after Spain (winners in 2010) and Italy (winners in 2006) to be eliminated from the group stage.
Germany were frustrated as they could not manage to string meaningful passes together, as the South Koreans held their ground and thwarted any German penetration. Germany finished the first half with two good opportunities falling their way.
Mat Hummels gathered the ball from a corner and wriggled out a yard to let fly from close range, although his effort was well saved by Cho Hyun-Woo in the Korean goal. Soon after, Timo Werner struck the post from inside the box; however, it wouldn't have counted as the referee blew the whistle for a Jonas Hector foul in the build-up.
The second half started in similar fashion for the Germans as a rising Leon Groetzka header was stopped by Cho.
Korea absorbed all the German pressure, breaking into a counter-attack with the German back line exposed. Both teams missed an array of chances, with the best of them falling to Germany as Mesut Ozil's delightful cross was picked up by Hummels in the box, but his header was woeful, to say the least, the ANI report said.
VAR came into play in stoppage time after an offside decision overruling a Jang Hyun-Soo goal from a corner, was review by the referee and overturned, giving the Koreans a deserved lead. In the end, Son ended their misery after Neuer conceded possession to allow Ju Se-Hong to release Son, who scored into an empty net to make it 2-0 on the night.
Image Credit: TASS