Missed chances, invisible stars: Why Germany fell in World Cup

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New Delhi | Published: June 28, 2018 11:19:41 AM

All great teams of the past in any sport have flourished over stability. The Germans, however, kept tinkering their starting XI not allowing players to settle -- a process that was probably triggered after their loss against Mexico.

Germany football team, germany vs korea, germany out of world cup, fifa world cup, fifa wc, germany, geramany knocked out, why germany lost, german football team, sports newsGermany failed to convert the chances against South Korea and was knocked out of FIFA World Cup 2018. (Source: Reuters)

A star-studded German football team crashed out of the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia after a 2-0 loss against South Korea, becoming the fourth defending champion in the last five tournaments to be eliminated in the group stage. Germany maintained 74% possession of the ball at Kazan Area taking a total of 19 shots in 90 minutes but failed to find the back of the net. Two stoppage-time goals from Kim Young-Gwon and Son Heung-min led the defending champions to an early exit.

The Germans had to win the match by two goals to advance to the last 16 but Joachim Loew’s men finished on the last spot in their group which saw Sweden and Mexico advance to the next round. The loss came as a shock for fans and pundits alike as this was the first time when Germany failed to advance from the first round since 1936.

The loss was difficult to digest for the fans as almost half of their side which started against South Korea was part of the squad that dominated the opposition and won the cup in Rio four years ago. Thousands of football fanatics that had gathered in Berlin’s “Fan Mile” — a major downtown street running from the landmark Brandenburg Gate to the Victory Column that was shut to traffic and set up as a public viewing area — were left heartbroken by Son’s last minute goal.

The defeat puts the future of Joachim Loew — the man who brought so much glory for the country — hanging. It is time for the mighty to sit and analyse what went wrong!

Here are a few reasons apart from the chances flunked by the mighty Germans:

1. Too much switching and swapping

All great teams of the past in any sport have flourished over stability. The Germans, however, kept tinkering their starting XI not allowing players to settle — a process that was probably triggered after their loss against Mexico. Loew fielded as many as 20 players during the three matches from his squad of 23 leaving two reserve keepers Marc ter Stegen, Kevin Trapp and defender Matthias Ginter.

2. Stars in poor form

The problem with this German side is that it has too many moody players in Mesut Ozil, Thomas Muller, Marcus Reus and others. Thankfully for them, all these stars have been arriving at the right time in the big tournaments. But, that didn’t happen this time forcing Loew to bench Ozil in the second match against Sweden and Muller in the third and final match against Korea. This was the first time when Muller was left on the bench since 2012. Their defending unit also struggled in the tournament and Loew even had to bench Mats Hummels — a player who has achieved so much glory in his career.

3. Poor finishing

Almost everytime Germany has played in a World Cup since the dawn of the millennium, one man who has made the headlines is Miroslav Klose. The German striker, who remains the leading goal-scorer in World Cups, retired before this edition leaving a void. Moreover, in the last two editions, Muller had stepped up his game and had scored 10 goals with careless abandon. The Bayern Munich midfielder failed to find the back of the net this time to make things worse for the German coach.

Loew picked Timo Werner ahead of the experienced Mario Gomez in the playing XI but the 22-year-old Leipzig striker was a huge disappointment. The youngster who had an outstanding season for his club was probably not ready for the big stage and kept throwing away chances. He had 13 touches inside the box against Korea but failed to take a single shot.

4. Jerome Boateng’s absence

The big Bayern Munich defender has been an ever-present figure in the German defence but a couple of rash tackles against Sweden saw him pick yellow cards and miss the game against South Korea. This forced Loew to play Boateng’s Munich teammate Niklas Süle who has a lot of potential, but didn’t provide the kind of composure that was needed for a must-win game against Korea.

5. Transitional challenges

A number of top German players like Bastian Schweinsteiger, Phillip Lahm and Miroslav Klose have retired from international football since their nation’s glorious win four years ago. Despite picking up some exciting talent, Loew failed to fill in the big boots.

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