Champions Germany crashed out of the World Cup after suffering a stunning 2-0 defeat by a tenacious South Korea on Wednesday that eliminated them in the opening round for the first time in 80 years.
Germany would have progressed with a win at the Kazan Arena but barely looked capable of scoring against the Koreans, let alone going on to successfully defend the title they won in Brazil four years ago.
In the final frantic minutes in front of 41,835 flabbergasted fans, Kim Young-gwon and Son Heung-min finished off Joachim Loew’s Germany side with two stoppage-time goals to condemn them to finishing bottom of the group on three points.
The Germans, who have won four World Cups and finished runners-up four times, entered this year’s tournament heavily backed to retain their title.
Instead, they will head home after a scarcely believable failure, having been unable to break down the South Koreans and after a shock 1-0 loss to Mexico in their opening group match.
Loew struggled to explain it.
“I cannot say why this was for us,” he told reporters. “It was a bit of overconfidence ahead of Mexico - that we can press the button and win.