World Cup: Germany 0 South Korea 2 - 5 things you need to know

Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer of Germany (right) and Ju Se-jong of South Korea in action during the Fifa World Cup 2018 group F preliminary round soccer match between South Korea and Germany in Kazan, Russia, on June 27, 2018.
Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer of Germany (right) and Ju Se-jong of South Korea in action during the Fifa World Cup 2018 group F preliminary round soccer match between South Korea and Germany in Kazan, Russia, on June 27, 2018.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

In a game of seismic proportions, defending champions Germany bowed out of the World Cup with a whimper on Wednesday (June 27).

Their first group stage exit in 80 years was no dogged affair, with Die Mannschaft convincingly beaten by Mexico and while they were extremely fortunate against Sweden after Toni Kroos' last-gasp goal, this time luck deserted them against the South Koreans.

Yet it was not a matter of bad luck that led to their defeat by the Taeguk Warriors. They were pedestrian throughout the game and even in the closing stages, showed little urgency and desire to win the game.

1. THE GOALS

Germany 0 South Korea (Kim Young Gwon 90th, Son Heung Min 90th)

2. THE WOW MOMENT

When the video assistant referee (VAR) was again utilised at the World Cup to correctly sanction Kim's added-time goal, which had been initially adjudged to be offside. South Korea showed heart from start to finish and their pace on the counter had threatened the shaky German backline on several occasions, and they finally got the goal their endeavours desired.

3. THE TALKING POINT

Germany coach Joachim Low's line-up and tactics. Before the Group F decider, German Football Association president Reinhard Grindel told the press: "We decided before the World Cup to offer a contract extension. Regardless of the outcome of the tournament, no one is better equipped to handle that than Jogi Low."

It's looking like a case of foot in mouth for Grindel now. Low has had 12 success-filled years at the helm, but the manner of Germany's World Cup exit has been pathetic and there are a multitude of reasons for that. Firstly, the shocking omission of Leroy Sane despite his standout season for Manchester City, which resulted in his Young Player of the Year accolade.

And like in the Mexico opener, Low's formation against South Korea has to come under scrutiny. He brought back Sami Khedira and Mesut Ozil despite their ineffectual displays against Mexico and the pair did nothing to justify their inclusion again, with Germany's play muddled and lacking in width.

 
 

4. THE STAR

Son Heung Min. South Korea's star forward has done everything in his power to lead an otherwise average and relatively inexperienced side in Russia. The Tottenham Hotspur player broke down in tears and was inconsolable after their loss to Mexico last weekend, but he can hold his head high after a historic South Korea victory, which owed much to his non-stop running of the channels - even when there appeared little for him to feed on. His winner was simply the icing on the cake as South Korea became the first Asian nation to beat Germany at the Finals.

5. WHAT THE RESULT MEANS

Sweden and Mexico qualify from Group F on a day no one could have expected. Germany may be the fourth of the last five defending champions - France in 2002, Italy in 2010 and Spain in 2016 - to exit the group phase, but their capitulation will send alarm bells ringing across the country and the Bundesliga, which has long been a one-horse race led by Bayern Munich.

Germany's disastrous Euro 2000 campaign, in which they finished bottom of their group, led to an overhaul of their talent system, and while it might be a knee-jerk reaction to do so again this time round, an inquest must be held into why this talented squad could not rise to the occasion, but only splutter and choke on the biggest stage.