Defending champion Germany crashes out of World Cup

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KAZAN, June 27 (AP): Germany is out of the World Cup, the fourth defending champion in the last five tournaments to be eliminated in the group stage.

The four-time champions lost to South Korea 2-0 on Wednesday, allowing a pair of injury-time goals while knowing a 1-0 victory would have been enough to advance because of the result in the other group match.

Germany ended up last in Group F while Sweden and Mexico advanced to the round of 16. South Korea was also eliminated despite the victory.

It was the first time Germany has been eliminated in the first round since 1938.

Kim Young-gwon scored the first goal in the third minute of injury time. Originally called out for offside, the goal was then given after video review.

Son Heung-min made it 2-0 in the sixth minute of injury time after Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer came up the field to help his teammates outside the South Korea box. Son tapped the ball into an empty net after a long pass from Ju Se-jong.

Besides Germany this year, France in 2002, Italy in 2010 and Spain in 2014 were the previous defending champions to get eliminated in the group stage.

Germany coach Joachim Loew caused a surprise by leaving midfield attacking stalwart Thomas Mueller on the bench for the first time since 2012 after his underwhelming displays against Mexico and Sweden.

But by the end of a frustrating opening half, Loew was left desperately studying his options.

Germany suffered the first of several scares after South Korea won a free kick on the quarter hour when Sami Khedira’s boot connected with the head of Jung Wooyoung.
From 30 yards out, it should have been fodder for World Cup-winning goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, but after fumbling Jung’s dipping drive Neuer scrambled desperately to clear as Son raced to pounce.

Germany spurned a series of chances soon afterwards.
Marco Reus, who hit a crucial leveller in the 2-1 win over Sweden, saw his drive deflected and Mesut Ozil saw his effort deflected off a Korean boot and out for a corner, after which goalkeeper Hyeonwoo Jo smothered desperately when Goretzka’s header found Hummels trying to pounce on the loose ball.

Germany resumed with more urgency after the interval, but despite edging closer when Loew introduced Mario Gomez just before the hour the big Stuttgart striker headed straight at Jo from Kimmich’s cross.

Striker Timo Werner then met another Kimmich ball from the left byeline with a right-foot volley that skewed agonisingly wide of Jo’s upright.

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