Germany’s World Cup campaign came to a screeching halt after South Korea found the back of the net twice in stoppage time against the defending champions in their final group match on Wednesday.
It was Germany’s earliest exit from the tournament in 80 years. Since the inception of the group stage in 1950, it’s the first time they’ve failed to qualify for the knockout stage.
Germany’s performance in Russia was abysmal. It was arguably their worst at a World Cup. They conceded four goals, the same as their last outing when they won the tournament, except they played four more matches in 2014.
Traditionally a very fluid and disciplined team, Die Mannschaft find the back of the net consistently. Since 1990, they average little over seven goals in the group stage alone. At this year’s tournament, they managed to score only twice and conceded four goals. It’s the first time since 1958 that the German team has ended with a negative goal difference.
With this early exit, the inevitable blame game will start, but fortunately Germany aren’t alone.
Joachim Loew’s team became the fourth defending champions in the last five World Cups to make a first-round exit. In fact it’s pretty hard to defend a World Cup title. Only Italy and Brazil have successfully done it in 1938 and 1962.
Argentina and Brazil came close in 1990 and 1998 respectively, but most defending champions don’t make it that far into the tournament.