At the beginning of this summer’s World Cup, Germany were one of the favourites to lift the trophy. Their favourite’s tag was understandable considering that Die Mannschaft were so outstanding for years ago in Brazil, eventually winning the competition after a 1-0 extra-time win over Argentina.
However, the group stages of the competition are now over, and Joachim Low’s side is heading home. An opening defeat by Mexico and a 2-0 loss in their final group stage game against South Korea sealed Die Mannschaft’s fate.
Germany’s early exit at the group stage is a big shock. However, the recent history of reigning champions at World Cup’s suggested their elimination was not such a shocking occurrence.
The curse continues
The curse of the reigning champions continues. In 2002 in Japan/South Korea, reigning champions France exited at the group stages. In fact, Les Bleus finished bottom of their group.
Fast forward eight years to 2010, then-world champions Italy failed to win in a group containing New Zealand, Slovakia and Paraguay. The Azzurri finished bottom of the group.
Then we had the dominant Spanish in 2014, who suffered defeat against the Netherlands and Chile in their opening group games before beating Australia 3-0 in the last group game to avoid finishing bottom of the group.
Signs were there before the tournament
The signs of this early exit were there for Germany before the competition began. The Champions had won just one of their six games in the run-up to the finals. Low’s side had struggled in warm-up games, but Die Mannschaft have a habit of turning it on at the big tournaments.
However, this time around they looked predictable, shaky in defence and were not clinical enough in front of goal. It was almost as if the players were waiting for the inevitable recovery, just like the fans.
It never came, and the sharper Mexicans and South Koreans took advantage of their poor displays. If Sweden had had slightly more belief, they could have picked up something from their second game encounter.
Germany’s exit celebrated
Not only did South Korean celebrate their 2-0 win over the world champions on Wednesday afternoon, but it also seemed the majority of the world rejoiced.
Sweden rejoiced, as when Germany scored the late winner in the second group game against the Swedes, German officials ran over to the Swedish bench to celebrate. The incident did not go down well with the Scandinavians staff and players.
In Brazil, a media company decided to post a Tweet that consisted of just the letters ‘ha’ repeatedly until they had used all their allotted space on the social media site. The Brazilian delight was due to the Germans hammering the Selecao 7-1 on home soil in the semi-final of the World Cup four years ago.
Then there is England, who have a chequered football history with Germany, as Die Mannschaft have had a habit of knocking the Three Lions out of the World Cup. In short, it seemed everybody apart from Germans were happy that they suffered elimination.
World Cup 2018 was the first time that Germany have failed to make it out of the group stages since 1938. It was an incredible result, but in the end, they the champions were just not good enough. At least they will have a chance of winning World Cup 2022, as they will no longer be the reigning champions in Qatar!
Did Germany deserve anything other than elimination from the World Cup?