Sunday, 18 November, 2018

Mexico fans share tequila with South Korea ambassador after shock Germany exit

Fans of the German national football react at a public viewing event in Berlin after their team was knocked out of the 2018 Fifa World Cup. AFP Fans of the German national football react at a public viewing event in Berlin after their team was knocked out of the 2018 Fifa World Cup. AFP
Jennie Wade | 02 July, 2018, 10:29

But Mexico City exploded with joy when South Korea scored two injury-time goals to eliminate the defending world champions in a huge upset.

Few gave the Koreans any chance of reversing that defeat on Wednesday, with some bookmakers offering odds of 100-1 on a 2-0 win, but as coach Shin Tae-yong said ahead of the match: "The ball is round, anything can happen".

"Your situation", he told reporters, "like gamblers, is not our situation".

"But we now are out and, of course, it's a case of absolute sadness and disappointment, but I think we have young players who are very talented and who have the opportunity to go forward".

"I bear the responsibility for the exit but I thought we put out a good team today", he added.

So despite a 3-0 loss to Sweden, Mexico was through to the round of 16 for the seventh straight time.

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So, are Mexico and South Korea now the unlikeliest of best friends? This was not the Germany we know. They were still in position to advance despite trailing Sweden, but they were waiting - some with tears in their eyes - for Germany to do the inevitable and ruin their chances of moving on.

That was highlighted by the inconsistent team selections, which saw only three outfield players keep their place for each match, and confused thinking with Leon Goretzka, a central midfielder or number 10, played as a right winger against South Korea.

Besides Germany this year, France in 2002, Italy in 2010 and Spain in 2014 were the previous defending champions to get eliminated in the group stage.

Disharmony Coach Joachim Low felt there was a degree of arrogance within the squad going into the World Cup (Lee Jin-man/AP).

Sweden won the group and will play Switzerland on Tuesday in St. Petersburg. A narrow 2-1 win over Saudi Arabia shortly before catching the plane to Russian Federation was their first win in six matches and you had to go back to a 5-1 victory over Azerbaijan in October 2017 to see their last win before beating the Saudis. Today, for the first time we chose to play with four and not that structure. But they controlled this one. Serbia and Costa Rica were eliminated from Group E.

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