Sweden top group with 3-0 win against Mexico
Wednesday 27 June 2018 18:23, UK
Holders Germany were dumped out of the World Cup after a late 2-0 defeat by South Korea, with VAR again playing a part.
The Germans lost their opening game to Mexico before a late win 2-1 against Sweden on Saturday, but they could not muster the same performance at the Kazan Arena and were punished for their lacklustre showing.
With six minutes of added time indicated, Young-Gwon Kim (90+2) bundled home from a corner and although the goal was initially ruled out for offside, a VAR review showed the ball coming off the foot of Toni Kroos just before and the decision was reversed.
South Korea: Hyeon-Woo Jo (7), Yong Lee (7), Young-Sun Yun (7), Chul Hong (6), Young-Kwon Kim (7), Woo-Young Jung (7), Jae-Sung Lee (7), Seon-Min Moon (6), Hyun-Soo Jang (7), Heung-Min Son (8), Ja-Cheol Koo (6).
Subs used: Hee-Chan Hwang (5), Se-Jong Ju (6), Yo-Han Ko (5).
Germany: Neuer (6), Hector (6), Hummels (7), Sule (6), Kimmich (7), Khedira (5), Kroos (5), Ozil (5), Reus (6), Goretzka (6), Werner (5).
Subs used: Gomez (6), Muller (5), Brandt (6).
Man of the match: Heung-Min Son.
Five minutes later, South Korea dealt the killer blow as Se-Jong Ju rounded Manuel Neuer - who was high up the field - before setting Heung-Min Son away, and he slotted home into an open net to send Germany crashing out at the World Cup group stage for the first time.
Sweden and Mexico have progressed from Group F after the Swedes' 3-0 win, while South Korea also exit the competition alongside Germany.
Germany made five changes with Mats Hummels, Sami Khedira, Mesut Ozil, Leon Goretzka and Niklas Sule coming into the XI. South Korea made four switches, bringing in Ja-Cheol Koo, Woo-Young Jung, Chul Hong and Young-Sun Yun.
South Korea had the two best chances of the opening period, the first coming in the 19th minute as Neuer was nearly made to pay for a terrible error. Woo-Young Jung delivered a superb free-kick that was spilled by the Germany captain, but he was able to get a fist to the loose ball and take it out of the path of the incoming Son at the near post.
Son was involved again six minutes later. A lovely diagonal pass found Young-Joon Lee on the right, and his cross was met by the head of Jae-Sung Lee. However, he was smothered by two Germany defenders and the loose ball landed to Son, but the Tottenham forward fired high over the crossbar.
Germany began the second period strongly, and Hyun-Woo Jo was called into action three minutes after the restart. Joshua Kimmich put a lovely cross into the area, allowing Leon Goretzka to have a free header in the middle, but it was kept out by a leaping save from the goalkeeper.
Germany kept seeing chances come their way, with Timo Werner flashing a volley wide in the 51st minute before a Mario Gomez header went straight into the hands of Jo 17 minutes later. Mats Hummels also should have scored in the 87th minute, but he mistimed his header from Mesut Ozil's cross and saw his effort go agonisingly wide.
But there were goals to come at the other end, and the first was awarded with the help of VAR. Son played a corner into the area, with Hyun-Soo Jang flicking the ball on - past Kroos - before Young-Sun Yun's touch put it into the path of Kim at the back post, who tapped home.
The offside flag was initially raised, but after some discussions between referee Mark Geiger and his team in Moscow, VAR replays showed the ball took a touch off Kroos on the way through, meaning Kim was onside and the goal was given.
The frantic finish continued five minutes later as South Korea added their second. Neuer was high up the field as Germany pressed for a goal, but was rounded by Ju before his long field pass was caught by the pacey run on Son, who slotted home into an empty net to seal the win and send Germany out.
Germany are the fourth defending champions to be eliminated from the group stage at the World Cup in the last five tournaments (also France 2002, Italy 2010, Spain 2014).
South Korea have been eliminated from the group stage at consecutive World Cup tournaments for the first time since they failed to progress from this stage in each of their first five appearances at the World Cup (1954, 1986, 1990, 1994 & 1998).
Germany's tally of two goals scored at this World Cup is the second fewest managed by a defending champion in the competition, only ahead of France's zero in 2002.
This was Germany's first-ever defeat against an Asian nation in a World Cup match in what was their sixth such match.
There was plenty of pressure on the shoulders of the South Korea captain heading into the tournament, and his final performance at the 2018 competition was one he and his country should be proud of.
While South Korea cannot say they had the better of the possession, they certainly had their fair share of chances - and of course the pick of the goals - and Son was involved for much of the attacking play.