Germany are OUT of the World Cup after a shock 2-0 defeat to South Korea, and noticeably, there is very little sympathy for the reigning World champions.
They were tipped at the beginning of the tournament as one of the favourites and aimed to be the first team since Brazil in 1962 to win back-to-back World Cups, but there’s no argument that their pursuit of that elusive double has been a spectacular flop.
Tears were shed from the German contingent as confirmation came through that not only were Die Mannschaft out of the World Cup, but the World Cup holders have finished bottom of Group F after Sweden beat Mexico 3-0 in the other game to clinch qualification against all the odds. It’s safe to say, very little sympathy has been felt from the world’s media for the previously all conquering Germans.
A talking point that was raised before the tournament even began was German boss Joachim Low’s 23-man squad. No Leroy Sane. As much as football fans around the world tried to get to grips with this decision, no one could. Bayer Leverkusen’s Julian Brandt instead; a decision that proved to be rather ill-judged.
However, there’s more to an early World Cup exit than the exclusion of one player. Collectively, as a team, they have been utterly shambolic and hopeless throughout their entire run. There’s something not right in the camp. Germany are usually an organised outfit, the sort of team where everyone works hard for each other and all 11 players know their respected roles within the side.
At times during the 2018 World Cup, they were headless chickens, all over the place in midfield, wasteful in attack and horrendous defensively. Does this compare to England’s Euro 2016 campaign?
Some say that luck has very much been on the German’s side ever since Euro 96, where Gareth Southgate’s missed penalty in the shootout gifted Germany a path to the final and a European crown. The ‘phantom goal’ at the World Cup in South Africa after Frank Lampard’s long-range effort hit the crossbar and bounced over the line that was not given, also looms large in the memory
Finally, this year they avoided elimination from the World Cup just a few days earlier as they clawed back from the jaws of defeat to snatch a last-minute winner against Sweden through a Toni Kroos free kick.
It has been coming, and 2018 was the year that it finally happened.
Germany are deservedly out, no question. With lots of new players in their squad this time around, is there a further rebuilding required in the German squad or coaching staff?
It will be a test of Joachim Low’s character if he keeps his job after the failure of Russia, how he turns this around for himself, his team and his country. Has his loyalty to the senior players come back to haunt him? Only time will tell.