Joachim's Germany hits a new low

Germany's loss against South Korea left Joachim Low’s men at the bottom of Group F and the ignominy of becoming the fourth defending champion in five tournaments to get knocked out in the first stage.

The loss left Joachim Low’s men an the bottom of Group F and the ignominy of becoming the fourth defending champion in five tournaments to get knocked out in the first stage.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Every FIFA World Cup has had its dramatic turns and upturns, the perfectly penned narratives of upsets and surprises. South Korea provided Russia 2018 the biggest shock of the tournament, knocking Germany out with a convincing 2-0 victory in its last group game.

The loss left Joachim Low’s men at the bottom of Group F and the ignominy of becoming the fourth defending champion in five tournaments to get knocked out in the first stage. The Germans, after grabbing a last-gasp winner against Sweden, needed maximum points and Mesut Ozil and Sami Khedira were reinstated in a 4-2-3-1 system.

READ: Germany out of World Cup after humiliating defeat

But still there was no fluency or interrelation in its game and the manager’s insistence to reward past performers over younger talents ultimately came back to haunt them.       

The team had arrived at the World Cup as the winner of last year’s Confederations Cup – a feat achieved with the so-called second-string squad. The process of industrialisation of the country’s production structure was much praised, but the manager, ultimately, showed little faith to it.

His persistence to continue with a sub-par Thomas Muller (he was finally dropped on Wednesday) and the picking of Manuel Neuer, who missed the entire 2017-18 season, showcased his lack of belief on the replacements available.

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Kim Young-Gwon’s extra-time strike, which was earlier ruled out for off side, passed the VAR test and Son Heung-min added further patina to the South Korean win, rolling the ball into an empty net, with Germany’s sweeper-keeper Neuer – such a revelation in Brazil – nowhere to be seen.   

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