Germany have been eliminated from the 2018 World Cup after a stunning loss to South Korea, 2-0. The other match fell the way Germany needed it, with Sweden trouncing Mexico 3-0. All Germany had to do was win, despite their lackluster start in the opener against Mexico, and despite needing a desperation last-minute goal by Toni Kroos to beat Sweden.
This will no doubt spark a national gnashing of teeth, because this, well, does not happen with the Germans. Let’s put it in perspective with some of the absurd history of Germany (and West Germany) in the World Cup:
- The last time they failed to get out of the first round was 1938, when the World Cup had no group stage, and it wasn’t the widespread international event (only three non-European sides participated because of travel). They lost in penalty kicks to Switzerland in the Round of 16.
- The last time they did not finish in the final 8 teams in the World Cup, whether it was a quarterfinal or second group stage (like in 1978), was in 1950. Germany was banned from participation following World War II. So decisions to go into Russia have played a role in each of the last two German World Cup failures.
- Over the previous seven World Cups, Germany has 32 wins, 7 draws, and 6 losses. That’s right, they had fewer losses than World Cups played, and only one of those was in the group stage (Serbia, 2010).
So Germany is now out, with more losses in the group stage than they have had in the previous 28 years combined. The loss to Korea might qualify as the worst loss for Germany in the World Cup, ever. No big deal.