‘Dark day for Ger­man foot­ball’ a er elim­i­na­tion

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - Sport -

EV­ERY­ONE was wait­ing for Ger­many to score an­other late World Cup-sav­ing goal. It never came. In­stead, the Ger­mans have be­come the fourth de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons in the last five tour­na­ments to be elim­i­nated in the group stage fol­low­ing a 2-0 loss to South Korea on Wed­nes­day.

The four-time cham­pi­ons al­lowed a pair of in­jury-time goals while know­ing a 1-0 vic­tory would have been enough to ad­vance be­cause of the re­sult in the other group match.

“It’s very, very hard to put it into words,” said Ger­many de­fender Mats Hum­mels, a mem­ber of the team that won in Brazil four years ago. “We be­lieved un­til the end to­day. Even when it was 0-1, I think we kept try­ing to turn it all around.”

Ger­many ended up last in Group F while Swe­den and Mex­ico ad­vanced to the round of 16. South Korea was also elim­i­nated de­spite the vic­tory.

It was the first time Ger­many has been knocked out in the first round since 1938, though the team was not al­lowed to en­ter the 1950 tour­na­ment.

“It’s a dark day for Ger­man foot­ball,” Ger­many goal­keeper Manuel Neuer said.

Even in Yeka­ter­in­burg, nearly 500 miles away, the Mex­i­can fans ex­pected Ger­many to score. They were still in po­si­tion to ad­vance de­spite trail­ing Swe­den, but they were wait­ing — some with tears in their eyes — for Ger­many to do the in­evitable and ruin their chances of mov­ing on.

That’s when South Korea stepped up.

Kim Young-gwon scored the first goal in the third minute of in­jury time, a goal that sent the Kore­ans cheer­ing in Kazan and the Mex­i­cans deliri­ous in Yeka­ter­in­burg. Orig­i­nally called out for off­side, the goal was given af­ter video re­view.

Son He­ung-min made it 2-0 in the sixth minute of stop­page time af­ter Neuer came up the field to help his team­mates out­side the South Korea box. Son tapped the ball into an empty net af­ter a long pass from Ju Se-jong.

Be­sides Ger­many this year, France in 2002, Italy in 2010 and Spain in 2014 were the pre­vi­ous de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons to get elim­i­nated in the group stage.

“We de­served to be elim­i­nated,” Ger­many coach Joachim Loew said. “For us, this is a huge dis­ap­point­ment. But we have young play­ers who are tal­ented and have the po­ten­tial to go for­ward. It hap­pened to other na­tions be­fore. We need to draw the right con­clu­sions.”

All four teams in the group had a chance to ad­vance in games that were be­ing played si­mul­ta­ne­ously.

– AP

South Korea’s play­ers cel­e­brate a goal dur­ing the group F match be­tween South Korea and Ger­many. Photo: AP

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