Kazan Arena, Kazan, 27.06.2018
– / Kim Young-gwon 90+3., Son Heung-min 90+6.
After their dramatic last-gasp victory over Sweden four days earlier, Germany were back in charge of their own destiny. A victory over South Korea was needed, and there was a sense of calm confidence coming into the match. After the poor start against Mexico, many had felt that a corner had been turned against the Swedes.
On warm and humid afternoon in Kazan, things did not go to plan from the start. Germany bossed the possession and racked up the passing stats, but could not find a way through a well-drilled Korean defence. While the Korean defence were excellent, there was a slackness about the German play, and a distinct lack of energy and imagination.
Having made a number of curious team selections, coach Jogi Löw attempted to change the shape of the team in the second half. Chances were created, but the combination of Korean ‘keeper Cho Hyun-woo and poor finishing only led to increased levels of frustration. When Mats Hummels missed a gilt-edged chance with just minutes remaining, it felt like everything was slowly closing in the German team. Not just their place in the tournament, but history itself.
With Sweden beating Mexico 3-0 in the other match, the Mannschaft only needed one goal to progress. In the end, it was the Koreans that opened the scoring, puncturing the German net two minutes into added time. It took a VAR decision to clarify the validity of the goal, but there was no doubt. Chasing the impossible, ‘keeper Manuel Neuer was caught out in the opposition half, allowing the Koreans to roll the ball into the empty net to seal a historic 2-0 victory.
The defending champions were out. Germany, the World Cup invincibles, who had not been eliminated in the first phase since 1938. In a way, it was a fitting end to what had been a truly miserable and unexpectedly short campaign in Russia.
Germany: Neuer (c) – Kimmich, Süle, Hummels, Hector (78. Brandt) – Khedira (58. Gómez), Kroos – Goretzka (63. Müller), Özil, Reus – Werner
South Korea: Cho Hyun-woo – Lee Yong, Jang Hyun-soo, Kim Young-gwon, Hong Chul – Koo Ja-cheol (Hwang Hee-chan 56., Go Yo-han 79.), Jung Woo-young – Moon Seon-min (69. Ju Se-jong), Yun Young-sun – Lee Jae-sung – Son Heung-min (c)
Referee: Mark Geiger (United States)
Assistants: Joe Fletcher (Canada), Frank Anderson (United States)
Fourth Official: Julio Bascuñán (Chile)
Reserve Assistant Referee: Christian Schiemann (Chile)
Video Assistant Referee: Danny Makkelie (Netherlands)
Assistant Video Referees: Tiago Martins (Portugal), Corey Rockwell (United States), Artur Dias (Portugal)
Yellow Cards: – / Jung Woo-young 9., Lee Jae-sung 23., Moon Seon-min 48., Son Heung-min 65.
Red Cards: – / –
Ball Possession: 70% / 30%
Attempts on Target/Blocked: 15 / 6
Attempts off Target: 11 / 5
Corners: 9 / 3
Fouls Committed: 7 / 16
Man of the Match: Cho Hyun-woo (South Korea)
First Phase Group F Table
Other results: Sweden 0-1 South Korea; Mexico 2-1 South Korea; Mexico 0-3 Sweden.