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Former German stars pragmatic after early World Cup exit   

By Paul Giblin MOSCOW Russia (Xinhua) -- Germans are still searching for answers on Thursday following their side’s shock exit from the 2018 World Cup finals after a 2-0 defeat to South Korea left the 2014 Champions with just three points from their group matches.

Germany kicked off their World Cup campaign with a 1-0 defeat to Mexico and although Toni Kroos’ late free kick gave them a pulsating 2-1 win over Sweden, the reality of their poor form was made clear by the late South Korean goals which saw the Germans packing their bags earlier than expected.

Former players have been giving their opinions on the early exit from Russia. Toni Schumacher, the German goalkeeper between 1979 and 1986, commented that disappointment “was nothing.” Schumacher was pragmatic about the team’s early exit, saying the Germans didn’t perform at the same level as their last World Cup campaign.

Mario Basler, who played for Germany between 1994 and 1998 gave his support to coach Joachim Low, saying that “after the success he has had, there shouldn’t be a doubt about him.”

However, he believes the squad needs renewing. “Maybe we have to change some parts of the team and start again and some players should not get another call up, because they are past their best,” Basler said.

Finally, former German international Dietmar Hamann believes Germany didn’t deserve to get through the group stages. “There was no leader on the pitch to take responsibility,” the former midfielder said. He also highlighted the absence of players like Miroslav Klose, Phillip Lahm and Bastian Schweinsteiger.

“They have all left the team and now you can see the consequences, because the team was undisciplined and immature,” Hamann said. He also highlighted the decision taken by Mesut Ozil and Ilkay Gundogan to pose for a picture with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan prior to the tournament as symptomatic of the team’s problems. “There were just so many things running through the whole cup,” the former Liverpool midfielder said.

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