The current number one ranked side will not progress past the group stage after a sensational 2-0 loss to South Korea.

By Daniel Herborn


Posted on June 28, 2018

A World Cup of upsets has continued in the most sensational fashion with two late goals to 57th-ranked South Korea securing an incredible upset victory and sealing Germany’s fate.

Kim Young-gwon put South Korea ahead 1-0 with a nerveless strike four minutes into injury time. The goal was initially ruled offside by linesmen but the Video Assistant Referee showed the ball had touched a Germany defender on the way to Kim. The goal was reinstated, sparking wild celebrations from the South Korean players.

They quickly switched back on however and just two minutes later and with German keeper Manuel Neuer having ventured out of goals in a desperate push for a leveller, Son Heung-min won a race to the ball and scored South Korea’s second.

Germany had 70% of the possession during the match and created a number of chances through Mesut Özil but uncharacteristically sloppy finishing saw them squander several opportunities.

The result meant Germany had to make a humiliating early exit from the tournament. The team only scored two goals in three games in a disastrous defence of their title.

Remarkably, the result marks the fourth time in the last five tournaments where the previous champion has been knocked out in the group stage. It was the first time since 1938 that Germany has failed to make it to the second round.

Before kick-off, statistical modelling from FiveThirtyEight gave South Korea just a 5% chance of victory.

Germany out: a nation mourns

German fans were distraught after full-time. Almost immediately, there was discussion of whether German Manager Joachim Löw should continue in his role. He is contracted until 2022 but was ambivalent about his future in post-match interviews.

“The disappointment is deep inside me,” he told reporters.

“I couldn’t imagine we would lose to South Korea. I’m shocked because we didn’t pull it off. It’s premature for me to say something, I’m incredibly disappointed. Where we go from here – we will have to take some time and talk about it calmly.”

What the result means for other sides

Despite South Korea’s efforts in this game, it was their only win for the tournament and they will not progress. They had previously lost 1-0 to Sweden and 2-1 to Mexico. Sweden beat Mexico 3-0 to top the group.

Mexico still progressed, however, because of South Korea’s win. Mexican fans rejoiced in the stadium when the South Korean upset was broadcast and were later seen partying in the streets with a South Korean fan.

Back in Mexico, ecstatic supporters celebrated outside the South Korean embassy and blasted ‘Gangnam Style’ by South Korean rapper Psy in honour of their newfound allies.

With Germany eliminated and many of the other pre-tournament favourites faltering, the path may be cleared for either Belgium or England to win it all.

Both sides have been in scintillating form and the winner of their group match, which takes place at 19.00 28 June local time, will determine the winner of Group F and be a fascinating battle of two sides increasingly looking like World Cup winners.