It was tears of grief rolling down the eyes of German fans after their national team was eliminated from the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia on Wednesday.
Germany, the champions four years ago in Brazil, came into the tournament as top contenders to lift the World Cup but endured a disastrous campaign.
This was also Germany’s worst World Cup performance since 1938. This is only the second time in 80 years that they were knocked out in the first round.
Germany became the third successive defending champion to crash out of the FIFA World Cup in the group stages. Spain were eliminated in the first round in 2014 while Italy had bowed out of the group stages in 2010.
They managed just one win in the group stage while suffered shocking defeats to Mexico and South Korea to crash out of the tournament.
Questions were raised when they were humbled after by Mexico in their tournament opener. Germany, though, fought back in their next match against Sweden and when Toni Kroos hit that magical free kick, the world sat up and applauded the world champions for their magic.
Up against South Korea, the number-one ranked Germany were expected to have an easy ride. The Koreans had lost both their matches against Mexico and Sweden. But in a shocking turn of events, Germany lost to South Korea, ranked a lowly 57th.
All Germany had to do was beat South Korea 1-0. To think, the world’s best team failed to do that.
Stoppage-time goals from Kim Young-gwon and Son Heung-min finished off Joachim Loews sorry Germany side, who finished bottom of the group on three points.
Germany have won four World Cup titles. They also finished runners-up four times. But in Russia, they bowed out in humiliation.
German fans responded with shock and dismay after the national team suffered their first elimination in the first round of the World Cup for 80 years.
Top selling daily Bild splashed “OUT!” across its website after the defending champions’ 2-0 defeat by South Korea, calling it a nightmare but adding “We didn’t deserve any better”.
“The biggest disgrace in German World Cup History. The 0:2 loss is the embarrassing end to a catastrophic group phase,” it wrote on its website.
In West Berlin, along the swanky shopping avenue Kurfuerstendamm normally filled with cheering fans and honking cars, the mood was eerily silent. Glum-faced fans in Germany shirts moved slowly and quietly away from cafes and bars.
Tens of thousands of German supporters who had gathered to view the game at the Brandenburg Gate stood stunned after the South Korea loss, some moved to tears.
“It didn’t go well from the start. The first game wasn’t great, the second game wasn’t great and we shouldn’t even talk about today,” said Robert Koeschinger, one emotional fan.
“We deserved to lose. Something definitely has to change now.”
“The team just didn’t even fight. It was a terrible game,” said Janin Roethig with tears in her eyes.
Coach Joachim Loew told broadcaster ZDF it was too soon to answer a question about his future as the national trainer.
“I’m terribly disappointed,” Loew said. “I need a few hours to digest it.”
Die Welt newspaper dismissed the team’s performance as “disgraceful.” “Tame, lacking in ideas and passion – the team deservedly lost against South Korea,” it said.
“‘The miracle of Sochi’ was not repeated today,” the German interior ministry tweeted. “Out in the group stage. The sports ministry is as sad as you all are.”
Felix Kroos, brother of Germany midfielder Toni, tweeted, “That’s sport. Heads high for all those who truly cheered on.”
German comedian Jan Boehmermann offered hope for the future.
“Chin up. In the next World Cup, Germany will form a joint European team with Italy, France, Portugal, the Netherlands, Poland, Denmark, Sweden, Croatia and Spain, and will be world champion every time thereafter,” he said on Twitter.
News credit : Indiatoday