The Russia World Cup 2018 has been full of highs, lows and unusual twists, and one of the biggest surprises was the fall of Germany, in the very first round! Not only were they the defending World Cup champions, but they also won last summer’s Confederation Cup, so naturally, expectations for the team were high.
Although fans around the world were shocked by Germany’s early dismissal, defending champs getting knocked out in the initial stages is by no means a new phenomenon. For the fourth time in the last five World Cup tournaments, the defending champs lost as early as the group stages. However, this is the first time such a feat has ever happened to Germany in a total of 80 years!
Germany was expected to make it all the way to the top yet again this year, but their performance indicated that there are some significant cracks in the wall. The team comprises of energetic, young men, with players who are no older than 32. As such, there's been some speculation that the youthfulness of the team may have been a contributing factor in aiding their downfall. Some say the pressure put on the young team also caused them to fall flat.
Germany played a total of three games before they got the boot. During these matches, they only managed to score two goals, win one game and notch up three points overall. For such a young team, energy and vibrancy were expected, but instead, Germany put on a dull performance. Looking back at the sequence of events, many admit that they seemed unsure of themselves while on the field with a definite lack of direction.
Although there has been much speculation as to why Germany played so poorly, there are no definite answers. This is why everyone turned their focus to Germany’s manager, Joachim Low, who has been in charge of the team for the past 12 years. Despite a massive success achieved in 2014, under closer inspection, Germany has not garnered too many impressive achievements under the management of Low. Regarding Germany’s performance in this year's World Cup 2018, Low commented that he realised his team had issues in defensive transition.
The defence-attack balance seems to be a consistent problem for Germany as we witnessed in Brazil in 2014, where the team only found equilibrium in the quarterfinals.
Germany’s exit was not only a major disappointment for many fans but was also a historic moment for South Korea, who was the definite underdogs in the game between the two nations. The two goals scored by Kim Young-Gwon and Tottenham’s Son Heung-min, which sent Germany packing, will be ingrained in the minds of soccer fans for years to come.
While it is impossible to pinpoint the reason for Germany’s failure, it is clear that they have some major re-assessing to do.