Defending Champions Germany were sent crashing out of the World Cup after suffering a stunning 2-0 defeat by a tenacious South Korea on Wednesday that saw them eliminated in the first round for the first time in 80 years.
South Korea's players celebrate their second goal during the Russia 2018 World Cup Group F football match between South Korea and Germany at the Kazan Arena in Kazan on Jun 27, 2018. Photo: AFP
With Sweden leading Mexico 3-0 in the other Group F match in the dying minutes of normal time, Germany desperately needed a goal but it was the Koreans who scored through Kim Young-gwon, which was awarded after a VAR review.
Then in stoppage time, Son Heung-min added a second to condemn the Germans to bottom of Group F and send them packing.
The four-time winners, who had not been eliminated in a World Cup first round since 1938, were a shadow of their once dominant selves, managing only two goals in their three group games.
South Korea, also eliminated, had the best early chance of the game when Germany keeper Manuel Neuer spilled a free kick in the 19th minute but managed to recover quickly and slap the ball away.
Nervous Germany increased the pressure after the break and poured forward but despite a one-sided second half they could not find the back of the net before South Korea's last-gasp double.
Germany's Toni Kroos, the free kick hero in the 2-1 win over Sweden, tried desperately to spark his side into action in the second half but was denied by South Korea's heroic Cho Hyun-woo in the 88th minute, one of a number of fine saves by the keeper.
But it was Kim who broke the deadlock in added time when he found himself alone in front of goal after a corner and he poked the ball home from close range.
Moments later Son sprinted to retrieve a long ball, with Germany keeper Neuer having left his goal to try to help his side get a goal, and the Korean striker fired a low shot into the net to wrap up the win and leave the Germans distraught.
Sweden went top of Group F with their 3-0 win over Mexico. The Swedes will face the second placed team in Group E while Mexico will face the winners of Group E. Brazil lead Group E with Switzerland in second place.
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