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Roots of German exit there to see in World cup preparations

By Paul Giblin MOSCOW (Xinhua) -- Germany’s 2-0 defeat to South Korea which saw them crash out of the World Cup finals on Wednesday left them to join a group of teams which have gone from being World Champions in one World Cup to be eliminated from the first round in another.

Germany join 2010 champions Spain, who failed to progress past the group stage in Brazil in 2014, while 2006 winners, Italy, failed to get past the first round in South Africa.

In 2002 it was France’s turn as the 1998 champions were on the first plane home from South Korea and in 1966 Brazil made a surprise early exit in England.

While Germany’s early exit is clearly a major surprise, the signs weren’t good for them going into the World Cup.

A narrow 2-1 win over Saudi Arabia shortly before catching the plane to Russia was their first win in six matches and you had to go back to a 5-1 victory over Azerbaijan in October 2017 to see their last win before beating the Saudis.

After the 1-0 defeat to Mexico in their opening match at the World Cup, Thomas Muller said that while the side had discussed their poor results in warm-up matches, there had always been the feeling that ‘it would be all right on the night’ and things would click into place once the tournament started in earnest.

Clearly that wasn’t the case and even after the defeat to Mexico the Germans labored to break down Sweden and although Tony Kroos’ 95th minute free kick gave them a nerve-wracking win, flaws were still evident in German’s football.

The defense, so often the rock on which German triumphs have been built, looked porous and twice the Swedes came close to scoring on the break, while there was little connection between midfield and attack, so although Kroos’ goal saved the day, the game was just another example of huffing and puffing, only this time with a happy ending.

There was to be no happy ending against South Korea as the same flaws showed up time and again. A midfield which didn’t connect, an attack which seemed to rely on effort more than guile and this time lady luck was looking the other way as it was the South Koreans and not the Germans who scored twice in injury time to earn a historic win and send the ‘Mannschaft’ home.

Investigations and recriminations are sure to follow amid stories of a squad divided into two groups: the so-called ‘Bavarians’ which contains players such as Muller and Tony Kroos and another group containing Sami Khedira and Mesut Ozil. How true these rumors are and how much is down to a sector of society looking to blame players whose parents were from outside Germany is open to conjecture, but Ozil and Ilkay Gundogan posing with Turkish president Recep Erdogan recently probably didn’t help matters.

Coach Joaquin Low has apparently been told by the German Football Association that his job is safe despite the early exit, but after 12 years in charge he may feel the time has come for a change and perhaps for a squad which appears to have grown overconfident that may be the best thing.



A curse from 7-1? Brazil’s media react to Germany’s World Cup elimination

By Michael Place MOSCOW (Xinhua) -- Brazil’s media reacted without mercy - and with no shortage of humor - to Germany’s shock elimination from the World Cup on Wednesday.

Four years after the European side humiliated Brazil 7-1 en route to winning the 2014 World Cup, Joachim Loew’s team lost 2-0 to South Korea to bow out before the knockout phase in Russia.

“South Korea avenge Brazil’s defeat and send Germany home,” the Estado de S.Paulo newspaper said on its web portal.

The Lance sports website ran an editorial piece that led with the question: “Was it a curse from the 7-1?”

The article cited a raft of shortcomings in the Germany team, including a perceived lack of pace, uncharacteristic errors by goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and the poor form of forward Thomas Muller, who began Sunday’s match on the bench.

“This is the end of the line for Germany,” it said. “With a poor performance, disinterest and a team that was underserving, the four-time world champions were eliminated.”

Globo Esporte published a social media post showing Brazilian fans celebrating the result before their team’s final group match against Serbia at Spartak Stadium in Moscow.

Entitled “Brazilian delirium in Moscow!”, the video was captioned with the words: “Goodbye Sami Khedira, Toni Kroos and [Thomas] Muller. Goodbye.”

Folha de S.Paulo said: “Germany fall in the first phase to continue the champions’ jinx,” referring to the group-stage elimination of the title holders in three successive World Cups.


We didn’t deserve to reach Round of 16, says German coach

KAZAN Russia (Xinhua) -- German coach Joachim Loew said on Wednesday that the reigning champions didn’t deserve to reach the World Cup Round of 16 as they failed to bring out their normal play in the decisive match against South Korea.

Germany have suffered their first group stage elimination since 1938 as two late goals from a resilient South Korean side forced a 2-0 stunner over the defending champions here in the Kazan Arena.

“Our team in this match was missing the ease of play and the classiness that we normally have displayed. Also the dynamism that led to the goalscoring opportunities was not there,” said the disappointed coach at a post-match press conference.

“We didn’t deserve to win the World Cup title once again, we didn’t deserve to move into the Round of 16,” he said.

He added that his team had prepared well for the match and had a few good opportunities to score, but just couldn’t manage to come down and take the lead.

“Why was that? This is something for us to reckon with,” he said, adding that he still needed some hours to come to terms with the defeat, and after that the team would talk calmly about it.

Loew had made a few changes to the starting lineup, including keeping star striker Thomas Mueller on the bench until late in the second half.

When asked about the decision, he said that although a different lineup might have produced different results, he still stood by his decision and as he saw it, it was a good lineup, as Mueller was not convincing in the previous two matches.

“We had to make some changes to the starting lineup because of a number of injuries and the suspension. That’s something that (just) happens,” he said.

Despite the huge disappointment following the defeat, the 58-year-old coach said he was still confident about the prospect of German football.

“We have young players who are very talented, and some have the potential to go forward. This has happened to other nations before, and we just have to draw the right conclusions and make it better going forward,” he said.


German local time will cause many Germans to shy away from work

BERLIN Germany (Xinhua) -- The German national team’s match against South Korea at the World Cup in Russia could cost the German economy a three-digit million losses, according to a study published on Wednesday by the German Economic Institute (IW).

The match that will start today at 4 p.m. German local time will cause many Germans to shy away from work. The IW estimates that around 30 percent of the German work force will be affected, leading to economic losses of 130 to 200 million euros (151 to 232 million U.S. dollars).

The IW calculations are based on recent studies on economic losses caused by public holidays in Germany and are assuming that the missed work will not be caught up later.

Speaking to Xinhua, IW labor market expert Christoph Schroeder added that some “economic losses are offset by positive effects in specific industries such as gastronomy especially.”

The researchers further emphasized that the experience of watching a match together, especially at the workplace, could also strengthen team spirit—which in turn could have a positive effect on productivity.

“It’s not always about money, but also about teambuilding—and there’s certainly nothing better than watching an exciting football match together with your colleagues,” said IW labor market expert Christoph Schroeder.


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