Defending champions eliminated at the group stage for the third tournament in a row
Brazil, Switzerland, Sweden and Mexico all advance to the Round of 16
KOR 2-0 GER l MEX 0-3 SWE l SRB 0-2 BRA l SUI 2-2 CRC
DAY REPLAYED – There are some things that are never supposed to change: the sky is blue, water is wet and Germany are always there or thereabouts in the latter stages of the FIFA World Cup™. On Thursday morning, football fans the world over may be giving the sky a quick check, because for the first time since a group stage was introduced to the tournament, Die Mannschaft have failed to extricate themselves from it.
Defeated 2-0 by a determined Korea Republic side, the Germans join Italy (1950, 2010), Brazil (1966), France (2002) and Spain (2014) in the undesirable club of reigning champions, who have failed to advance to the knockout stages. The Taeguk Warriors’ victory, secured by two goals in stoppage time, is the first by an Asian team versus Germany in seven attempts at the World Cup, although it did not save them from elimination, because in the other match in Group F, Sweden motored to a well-deserved 3-0 win over Mexico.
At the mercy of a German goal for a significant period of their match, the Mexican fans appeared resigned to their fate, waiting for Gary Lineker’s famous quote – “Football is a simple game; 22 men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win” – to come true yet again. But this time, it was not to be.
Upon hearing that Korea Republic had scored, El Tri’s relieved supporters jumped for joy, almost forgetting the footballing lesson handed to them by Sweden in Ekaterinburg, in a match that featured the seventh own goal of Russia 2018 – a tournament record – and a second successful penalty from Andreas Granqvist. A statistic they are unlikely to forget, however, is that Mexico have now qualified for the second round for the seventh successive time.
The Swedes – who ended up as group winners – and Mexicans will now respectively face Switzerland and Brazil, who both stamped their tickets for the last 16 with a minimum of fuss. A Seleçao clinched a 2-0 win over Serbia, the opening goal coming courtesy of Paulinho, his 13th on the international stage and his eighth since Tite took up the reins and re-opened the door to the box-to-box midfielder.
La Nati__, meanwhile, only needed a point, which they duly acquired against a hard-working Costa Rica team that had already been eliminated. The CONCACAF representatives at least gained the satisfaction of finally scoring in Russia, their goals in the 2-2 draw coming courtesy of Kendall Waston and a Yann Sommer own goal.
YEKATERINBURG, RUSSIA - JUNE 27: Andreas Granqvist of Sweden celebrates with teammates Viktor Claesson and Emil Forsberg after scoring his team's second goal during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group F match between Mexico and Sweden at Ekaterinburg Arena on June 27, 2018 in Yekaterinburg, Russia. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
YEKATERINBURG, RUSSIA - JUNE 27: Ludwig Augustinsson of Sweden celebrates after scoring his team's first goal with teammates during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group F match between Mexico and Sweden at Ekaterinburg Arena on June 27, 2018 in Yekaterinburg, Russia. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images)
Did you know? 2 – Despite recording 72 shots on goal, the Germans only found the net twice in three matches during the Russia 2018 group phase – a success rate of just three per cent. Both goals came in the same match, in their 2-1 victory over Sweden.
Tomorrow’s matches 28 June
Japan v Poland, Group H, Volgograd Senegal v Colombia, Group H, Samara Panama v Tunisia, Group G, Saransk England v Belgium, Group G, Kaliningrad
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