Published: Sun, July 01, 2018
Sport | By Tony Jimenez

South Korean KO - Dark day for defending champions

South Korean KO - Dark day for defending champions

Sweden advanced to the next round as Group F winners after a 3-0 win over Mexico, who still progress thanks to Germany's 2-0 defeat to South Korea.

Germany, the four-time champions who had competed in the past 16 editions of the World Cup, as a result of Wednesday's loss to South Korea, failed to make it past the first hurdle of the tournament since 1938.

Long the benchmark of excellence in the sport, Germany's dismal campaign ended meekly, with stoppage-time goals by Kim Young-gwon and Son Heung-min condemning Joachim Loew's side to finishing bottom of their group. South Korea also needs Sweden to lose against Mexico in the other group match to finish with a better goal difference.

It's the first time in at least 80 years that Germany has failed to advance out of the World Cup's group stage.

With loss to South Korea, Germany fails to advance to the round of 16 at the FIFA #WorldCup for the first time.

"We were rightly eliminated from the tournament".

Live updates of the final group F clash between Germany and South Korea.

A 0-0 draw would have brought enough joy but with Germany pressing for the goal that would have seen them go through with Sweden, plenty of space was left on the counter attack. South Korea didn't qualify for the second round - mathematically they still had a chance even in losing their first two games - but will never forget what happened in Kazan.

Although ruled out offside, the goal was confirmed with a review of the Video Assistant Referee, sparking mad celebrations from the Koreans and a gasp from the crowd. But this is the third straight World Cup in which the previous champion has been knocked out before the end rounds.

"Our team in this match was missing the ease of play and the classiness that we normally display", Löw said.

The goal was awarded because Toni Kroos' touch had played him onside, and minutes later Germany were 2-0 down after Neuer ran up the pitch in a desperate attempt to get a goal.

Loew had changed his line-up to mix youth with experience, calling back Hummels, Sami Khedira and Mesut Ozil while also fielding Niklas Suele and new Bayern signing Leon Goretzka.

From 30 yards out, it should have been fodder for World Cup-winning goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, but after fumbling Jung's dipping drive Neuer scrambled desperately to clear as Son raced to pounce.

South Korea coach Shin Tae-yong did not reveal which player would captain his side against Germany, just saying the role would not be for the faint-hearted.

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