A shock 1-0 defeat to Mexico was followed by a 2-1 win over Sweden, with Toni Kroos’ last-minute free kick keeping their hopes alive. But a 2-0 reverse against South Korea, coupled with Sweden’s 3-0 defeat of Mexico, means that Joachim Low’s men are on the way home from Russia.
Their miserable campaign was capped by a late humiliation, as Korea struck twice in stoppage time thanks to an inspired performance despite knowing Sweden’s win would also send them home from the World Cup.
Amazingly, it is the first time in eight decades that Germany have failed to make it past the opening round of World Cup competition. In 1938, Germany were eliminated by Switzerland in a straight knock-out format in their first tie of the France-based competition.
The first match between the two teams ended 1-1, before the Swiss prevailed 4-2 in a replay and made the quarter-finals. Since then, Germany have never failed to finish lower than seventh in any of the 16 World Cups they have entered.
In 2010 Italy failed to make it out of a group that contained Paraguay, Slovakia and New Zealand, while four years later Spain failed against Netherlands, Chile and Australia.