Shock Germany win ‘shook South Korea upside down’

South Korean fans rejoiced after their team went out of the World Cup in a blaze of glory, eliminating Germany.

Unbelievable! South Korea supporters react after their team’s victory over Germany in Kazan.   -  AFP

South Korean fans rejoiced on Thursday and called for national service exemptions after their team went out of the World Cup in a blaze of glory, eliminating defending champion Germany with a shock 2-0 victory.

In one of the great World Cup upsets, Kim Young-gwon and Son Heung-min both scored in injury time to condemn footballing superpower Germany to its first opening-round exit in 80 years. South Korea was pelted with toffees, a Korean insult, when it returned winless from Brazil 2014 and although it again leave early, after defeats to Mexico and Sweden, it finished above Germany on goal difference in Group F.

“We didn't make it to the round of 16... but we sent the World No. 1 packing,” said a headline in Seoul's major Dong-A daily.

“We are so proud of you,” the newspaper said on its front page, adding the game “shook South Korea upside down.”

‘Shocking’

Germany went into the game knowing that a win by two clear goals would have seen it into the last 16. But instead it was Sweden and Mexico which advanced after the Scandinavians romped to a 3-0 win in the group's other match. The Taeguk Warriors, semifinalists in 2002, brought the defending champion “down with them,” Yonhap news agency said, adding that Germany “unceremoniously bowed out of the tournament.”

IN PICTURES: South Korea 2-0 Germany

South Korean social media was flooded by tens of thousands of messages from fans expressing joy and astonishment over a victory that had seemed utterly implausible before the match. “This is far more shocking than our advance to the semifinal at the 2002 World Cup,” one commenter said.

‘Honourable exit’

“Who cares we won't make it to the round of 16? We defeated Germany, the World No. 1!” added another. “It was an honourable exit.”

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Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon joined them, tweeting on Thursday: “Reality beat our imagination today” and praising the South Korean footballers.

South Korean players swept the most-searched terms on major portals and dozens of online petitions were launched on the presidential website, urging Moon Jae-in to exempt star players, including Tottenham Hotspur forward Son and goalkeeper Cho Hyun-woo, from their mandatory two-year military service. “They gave us so much hope,” said one petitioner. “Their talent should not be wasted in the military!”

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