Belfast Telegraph

I'm stunned by Germany's early exit but future still bright, insists Low

By Robert Jones

Germany boss Joachim Low has admitted his shock at the reigning champions' World Cup exit after a stunning 2-0 defeat to South Korea.

The four-time champions finished bottom of Group F after stoppage-time goals from Kim Young-gwon and Son Heung-min secured a famous victory for the Koreans in a dramatic conclusion in Kazan.

It is the first time the Germans have gone out of the finals in the group stage and left Low fielding questions over his future.

He said: "That's hard to say. Of course, it takes a couple of hours to look into that. I'm shocked, I'm shocked because we didn't manage to pull it off.

"Where we go from here, we'll have to talk about it calmly. It will take me hours to come to terms with it. I'm incredibly disappointed by this elimination."

Germany saw Sweden clinch a 3-0 victory against Mexico in Nizhny Novgorod, meaning a win against South Korea would have been enough to progress.

However, Die Mannschaft were once again far from at their best, with defender Mats Hummels particularly wasteful in front of goal.

Kim was not so profligate when he fired home from close range - although he was initially given offside before a VAR review sparked celebrations - and Son completed the job.

Asked about Kim's strike, which was allowed after Toni Kroos was adjudged to have played the ball backwards, Low said: "The player was in an offside position - that's what I saw. But if the video referees have taken a different decision, then they will probably be right."

Low and his players return to Germany today, but with the coach dismissing suggestions that dark times could lie ahead.

He said: "Until quite recently, we have probably been the most consistent, in terms of performance, team in the past 10, 12 years. But we are now out and it's a case of absolute sadness and disappointment, but I think we have young players who are very talented and who have the opportunity to go forward."

For opposite number Shin Tae-yong, there were mixed feelings with the capture of a scalp only partial compensation for his side's exit from the finals.

Shin said: "I feel great, but at the same time a little bit empty.

"They probably felt they would beat us so I hoped we could use that as a reverse strategy, and that hit the nail on the head."

Belfast Telegraph

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