Manuel Neuer’s teammates gave in at the end of the match against South Korea (2-0) and are eliminated. Sweden, winner of Mexico (3-0), ends up at the top of group F.
Candidates announced to double after their coronation four years ago, the Germans seemed to have inherited the perfect group to launch their competition. Las: unable to break the South Korean lock on Wednesday, June 27, Joachim Low’s men suffered their second setback in Russia and took the door in the first lap. A first since the 1938 World Cup for the four-time world champion. Toni Kroos and his teammates failed even in the last place of a Swedish-dominated F-group in front of his victim of the day, Mexico (3-0).
Completed by two South Korean goals in the extra time, the Mannschaft has fueled a bit more the theory of a curse on him since the turn of the century : since 2002, four of the five outgoing champions have failed to pass the first round of the World Cup.
Cooled from the beginning of Mondial by Mexico (0-1), then passed very close to a new disillusion against Sweden (2-1), the Germans had to impose themselves to qualify and avoid taking out the calculator to know the fate of the group. Dominating (74% ball possession) and enterprising, the Champions have always stumbled on the goalkeeper of their opponent of the day.
Saved by Toni Kroos ‘ miraculous free-kick at the end of the previous game, Joachim Löw had made the choice of reintegrating two of his base players into the starting lineup, Mesut Ozil and Sami Khedira. Undefeated for ten years, Thomas Müller saw the start of the match from the bench, replaced in the middle by the young Leon Goretzka (23).
From the beginning of the game, the Germans gave the impression that they wanted to take cover and avoid the calculations of the epiciers at the final whistle. Confiscating the ball, the four-time world champions could count on a recovered Ozil. Mobile and more precise in the direction of the game, the Arsenal player saw his openings annihilated by the imprecision of his attackers or the good placement of the South Korean defenders.
Lined up and expected to replace Miroslav Klose, best scorer in the history of the World Cup, Timo Werner never found the right tempo. At the conclusion of the combinations developed by Marco Reus, or in reception of a pléiade of centers by Joshua Kimmich, the forward was the symbol of a team too imprecise (only 6 shots on 28 attempted on Wednesday, and 2 goals in 72 shots on the whole tournament).
Behind them, it took all the solidity of a Hummel Mats in the heart of the defense or Manuel Neuer’s far and courageous exits to avoid Germany a bad surprise. At half time (0-0), the Group F favourites joined the dressing room in the position of qualifiers, benefiting from the score, again null and blank, between Swedes and Mexicans.
The second half was only a sad copy of the first. Even before the time of the game, the first signs of annoyance reflected the impotence of the Germans. Neither the offensive choices of the coach (Mario Gomez instead of Khedira) nor the entry of Thomas Müller, piqued by his relegation on the bench (a first for the Munich player in international competition), have made it possible to force the solid South Korean organization.
“In terms of the fight, we can’t blame Mannschaft today, but we didn’t manage to score a goal,” said Joachim Low after the game. It was like that throughout this tournament, he lacked the team’s lightness. »
The South Koreans, the semi-finalists of the 2002 Edition, were not content with setting up a wall behind, but showed an unexpected defensive serenity, led by a goalkeeper at every German offensive. Still well positioned on his line, Cho Hyun-woo had to release a sublime parade on a head at point-blank range of Goretzka, in the second half.
Doomed to victory after the Swedes gained the upper hand over Mexico in the second half, the Germans rushed to attack and exposed themselves to the South Koreans. As the chronometer progressed, they finally surrendered their weapons in the additional time. Kim Young-gwon then his Heung-min, alone against the goal deserted by a Neuer mounted to the attack, crucified the champions of 2014.
Does the Elimination of Germany sound the death knell of Joachim Löw’s era ? At the helm of the team since 2006, the coach had extended his contract before the World Cup until 2022. As soon as the signal whistle was sounded, Mats Hummels asked for an inventory right : “there are certain points that we must correct, but I will not speak about them publicly any more. The last time we played a good, convincing game was in October 2017. »