Holders Germany sensationally crashed out of the World Cup on Wednesday in one of the biggest shocks in the tournament’s history — failing to make it past the opening round for the first time since 1938.
In a stunning reverse by the footballing superpower who have reached either the final or semi-finals of every World Cup since 2002, the Germans stumbled to a 2-0 loss to South Korea that left them rooted to the bottom of Group F.
Germany went into the game knowing that a win by two clear goals would have seen them into the last 16. But instead, it was Sweden and Mexico who advanced after the Swedes romped to a 3-0 win over the Mexicans in Yekaterinburg.
Germany coach Joachim Loew, who led his side to victory in the 2014 World Cup final, will be under pressure to quit, despite having only signed a contract extension until 2022 last month.
“It’s too soon for me to answer, it will take a few hours to see things clearly, the disappointment is very deep in me,” said 58-year Loew when asked if he would resign.
“We will have to have discussions tomorrow, we’ll see how it goes.”
“It is a really, really bitter evening for us,” defender Mats Hummels told German broadcaster ZDF. “The situation is very difficult to put into words.”
“We had plenty of opportunities, we broke our necks trying out there today,” he added.
Germany qualified for Russia with a perfect record of 10 wins, but Hummels said the last time the team had played well was when they wrapped up qualification late last year.
Hummels said the warning signs had been there after Germany lost their opening game 1-0 to Mexico.
“We put ourselves in this situation after the Mexican game,” he admitted. “The last game we delivered a good performance was in the autumn of 2017.”
Sweden coach Janne Andersson spoke of his pride after his side topped the group with second-half goals from Ludwig Augustinsson, Andreas Granqvist and an own goal from Edson Alvarez.
“We’ve done a fantastic job today with this match,” he said in Yekaterinburg, ahead of a last-16 clash against either Brazil, Switzerland or Serbia.
“I’m so incredibly proud, almost moved as the thought of how we performed on the pitch, so disciplined. I think we’ve grown since our last match.”