Germany boss Joachim Low has admitted his shock at the reigning champions’ World Cup exit after a stunning 2-0 defeat by 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 at a post-match press conference: “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 today.
“Where we go from here, we’ll have to talk about it calmly. It will take me some hours now 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 renewed celebrations – and Son completed the job.
Until quite recently, we have probably been the most consistent, in terms of performance, team in the past 10, 12 years.Germany coach Joachim Low
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 will return to Germany on Thursday, 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 now are out and, of course, 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, who had given South Korea a one per cent chance of victory before the game, said: “I feel great, but at the same time, I feel a little bit empty, so I feel a little ambivalent.
“Yesterday, we said that there was only a one per cent chance, so I told my players it was really a last-ditch effort for them and I told them that they had to fight until the very end.
“Germany are the defending champions, they are number one in the FIFA rankings.
“They probably felt they would be able to beat us – because that’s what everybody thought – so I hoped we could use that as a reverse strategy, and that really hit the nail on the head.”