The 2018 World Cup continues to produce some nerve wrecking games and big upsets. Argentina managed to survive but Germany could not. The defending Champions Germany crashed out of the World Cup after a 2-0 loss to South Korea on Wednesday. It was the first time Germany has been eliminated in the first round since 1938.
They finished fourth in Group F, behind Sweden, Mexico and South Korea. This was not a tournament to remember for the Germans. They lacked pace and hardly troubled their opponents throughout the tournament. Though this German squad was not a lot different from the one that lifted the 2014 World Cup, it lacked conviction.
They played poorly against Mexico and lost the game 0-1 but managed to beat Sweden 2-1 in a hard-fought game. They needed three points against South Korea to confirm their place in the round of 16 but once again produced a substandard performance.
#1 Mats Hummels
The Bayern Munich star was really poor against Mexico. He struggled against the pace of Mexican attackers, Chicharito and Layun in particular, and was slow to react to the situations. Though he produced a couple of good tackles, he was outrun at the back.
Mats Hummels played a stellar role for Germany in their 2014 World Cup win. He was one of the most experienced players in the squad and expected to provide the stability at the back. However, it turned out to be a horror tournament for the 29-year-old centre-back.
He did not play the second game because of an injury but returned to the squad for their final group game. Though he held the fort at the back, he was wasteful in front of goal. He had a golden opportunity to seal the game in the 86th minute but failed to connect his header cleanly. Not a kind of tournament you would expect from one of your star players.
#2 Julian Draxler
Julian Draxler was one of the biggest disappointments for Germany in the 2018 World Cup. Draxler started the first two games but was ineffective for the most part.
Deployed on the left flank by Joachim Low, the Paris Saint-Germain winger was poor against Mexico. Though he played the full 90 minutes, he pretty much did nothing to have any sort of influence on the game. His crosses and finishing were really wayward throughout the game and he failed to create any sort of goal scoring opportunities.
Despite his poor performance against Mexico, Low started him in an all-important game Sweden. Though he was not really bad, the 24-year-old did not produce anything substantial in the game and was replaced at the halftime.
#3 Manuel Neuer
Germany captain Manuel Neuer has to take a fair share of responsibility for their elimination from the tournament. Neuer missed most part of the 2017/18 season because of an injury and barely made it to the World Cup.
Though he played a few warm-up games, his lack of game time was clearly evident in his performances throughout the tournament. Though he wasn’t entirely responsible for Mexico’s goal, he could have done better at his near post.
He was indecisive on quite a few occasions throughout the tournament. Though their defenders have to take some blame, Neuer was nowhere close to his best. Even on Wednesday, he failed to control a 25-meter free kick from Jung Woo-Young on Wednesday and bobbled the ball, which could have resulted in a Korea goal. He is into his early 30s and this probably could be his last World Cup.
#4 Mesut Ozil
Mesut Ozil was a shadow of a player he once was. He was one of the heroes for Germany in their 2014 World Cup triumph but turned a villain in Russia.
He started the game against Mexico but was marked out by Guardado during the most part of the first half. He dropped deeper to dictate play and was rarely seen in the opponent’s box. He roamed all over the pitch but was little slow and Mexico players dealt him with ease.
Though he was dropped for the game against Sweden, he was brought back for the key game against South Korea. Once again he was deployed in the no.10 role but Ozil did nothing for the second time in the tournament. It was another poor performance from the Arsenal star.
#5 Jerome Boateng
Hummels and Jerome Boateng were once one of the best defensive partnerships in the world, but not anymore. Though the 29-year-old cannot be blamed for the defeat against Mexico, he was not assured at the back in any of the games he played.
His worst moment of the World Cup game came against Sweden. He was shown a red card in the second half after he secured a second booking. He committed an unnecessary foul and was given his marching orders.
Though Germany managed to win the game, it was a moment of madness from one of their seasoned campaigners. He was banned for the game against South Korea and eventually sat on the bench to watch his team crash out of the World Cup.