This, then, is how the world ends, not with a bang but with a whimper. There are certain events so apocalyptic that it feels they cannot just happen. They should be signalled beneath thunderous skies as owls catch falcons and horses turn and eat themselves. At the very least, there should be a sense of fury, of thwarted effort, of energies exhausted. And yet Germany went out of the World Cup in the first round for the first time in 80 years with barely a flicker of resistance. There was no Sturm. There was no Drang.
Germany had progressed past the group stage of the World Cup sixteen times in a row, but booked themselves a premature exit this year after losing to South Korea in stoppage time.
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
Germany had come to this World Cup not merely as defending champions but as winners of the last summer’s Confederations Cup – with what was effectively a second string. The overhaul of their academy system was the envy of the world, talent production on an industrial scale. And yet, called upon to score a goal against a disappointing South Korea side that had already lost to Sweden and Mexico, that had lost in qualifying to Qatar and China, they struggled to create a chance