Germany came into the 2018 FIFA World Cup as virtual co-favorites with Brazil to win the title. Instead, the defending champions will be making their earliest exit from the tournament since 1938, and that will definitely shake-up the World Cup odds for the remaining teams.
Germany lost their final group stage match 2-0 to South Korea, ending their hopes of advancement to the knockout phase, and changing the face of the tournament in the process for sports bettors.
With the perennial contenders out of the tournament, the odds have shortened on many of the other top teams in the field.
Brazil remains the favorite, with Ladbrokes offering 10/3 odds on the South American side hoisting the trophy in Russia. But it is now Spain (4/1) that is regarded as the second choice, with Belgium (13/2), England (8/1) and France (8/1) all given a realistic chance of winning the world championship.
Germany Can’t Find the Goal
Heading into their final match, Germany knew that it controlled its own destiny, as a two-goal win would guarantee advancement to the Round of 16. Many other scenarios were possible as well, as the results of the match between Mexico and Sweden – taking place simultaneously with Germany’s game – could make a draw or even a close loss enough to get through.
Sweden made sure that the Germans would have to play for a win by posting a demonstrative 3-0 victory over Mexico. That result put Mexico in the hot seat: if the heavily-favored Germans could win by any margin, it would be Germany and Sweden moving on, and Mexico suffering a shocking elimination after winning their first two matches.
But despite generating many chances and 26 shots on goal, Germany couldn’t find a goal. Even with 70 percent of the possession, Germany failed to show the efficiency or the ruthless finishing the team has been known for traditionally.
As the match wore on into the final minutes, the Germans pressed harder and harder for a goal. In the end, opening up the play did lead to goals – two of them, in fact, both for South Korea.
The second came on a rare empty net situation, as German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer had joined the attack in a desperate bid to score the two late goals Germany needed at that point.
Shocking Exit Could Mean Shakeup for German Soccer
After the match, German manager Joachim Low told reporters that while the result was shocking, it was a natural result considering how his team played.
“At this tournament we didn’t deserve to win again or move to the Round of 16,” Low said. “We were eliminated not because we didn’t want to win but we never had the chance to take a lead at any point – we were always lagging behind, trying to keep up.”
Given the historic success of German soccer – the country has won the World Cup four times, and had reached at least the semifinals in each of the last four tournaments – there will likely be calls for Low to lose his job with the national team.
“This is something for us to reckon with,” Low said. “I am sure this will create some public uproar in Germany.”