Germany became the latest victim of the so called ‘Curse of the defending Champion’ that seems to be following a consistent path with jinxing defending champions of the FIFA World Cup after every single edition where they get knocked out in group stages in the following edition.
The trend which started with France in 2002 after winning the 1998 edition on home soil was followed by Italy in 2010 after winning the 2006 edition. Spain then follows suit in 2014 after winning it in 2010.
This has also finally come to pass in dramatic fashion as defending champions Germany were also knocked out yesterday in group stage after being beaten by South Korea following the emphatic triumph in 2016.
Germany had not gone out of a World Cup at the first stage since 1938, but that all changed in Kazan with a feeble showing in which the Germans were second best to the Koreans in almost all departments of the pitch to provide one of the biggest shocks in the competition’s history.
Many pundits and experts have since giving varying reasons for Germany’s poor showing in Russia but one thing remains constant – defending champions get knocked at the group stage in the following edition.
Germany had also progressed past the group stage of the World Cup sixteen times in a row.
After winning the Confederations Cup last year, Germany looked to have a formidable team with apparent strength in depth as seven of the starting XI against South Korea on Wednesday did not feature in Russia last year. But everything changed after Joachim Low’s charges lost the first game to Mexico as they looked pedestrian, disjointed and tired.
Kim Young-gwon sealed their fate with a 94th minute goal, which was initially disallowed as off-side but a VAR decision saw the decision overturned as the ball came off Niklas Süle.
Tottenham’s Son Heung-min then added insult to injury scoring a 96th minute second Korean goal. Though South Korea do not go through to the knock-out stages, the win is the first in their history against Germany.
The result meant that Mexico survived and progressed to the last-16 despite their 3-0 loss to Sweden, who go through as the group winners.