A humiliating 2-0 defeat at the hands of South Korea meant Joachim Loew‘s team finished last in Group F.
Germany’s national newspaper Bild declared the campaign as “the biggest disgrace in German World Cup history”.
“Such a disaster. World Cup 2018 was not what we expected,” Boateng wrote on Instagram.
“I’m still angry and disappointed and at the same time I feel sorry for all our fans who supported us in the stadiums.
“Four years ago we were on top of the world – now we’re on the bottom. These are the days in the life of a football player nobody envies you for. But that’s life.
“All I can say is thank you to our fans who always support us. We will analyse what went wrong and carry on working as we always did. I promise we’ll be back strong!”
Such a disaster.... World Cup 2018 was not what we expected. I'm still angry and disappointed and at the same time I feel sorry for all our fans who supported us in the stadium or at home in front of the tv or at public viewings. We didn't really get into that tournament. We had our chances and kept on playing all the time but it just didn't work. Four years ago we were on top of the world - now we're on the bottom. These are the days in the life of a football player nobody envies you for. But that's life. All I can say is thank you to our fans who always support us. We will analyze what went wrong and carry on working as we always did. I promise we‘ll be back strong!
Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, who was at fault for South Korea’s second goal after coming out of his goal and playing in midfield – where he lost possession – said he has no plans to retire from international football.
The 32-year old accepted responsibility as a captain but admitted the entire squad was to blame for the mishappening.
“You have to say we do not deserve (to go through),” Neuer said.
“In the second round everybody would have liked to play against us. How are we going to be dangerous to an opponent if we do not get our performance (right)?
“We gave a bad picture in the three games. I cannot answer why that happened. We have to take responsibility. We screwed up, (and) we screwed up together.”
Neuer even apologised to his nation on Instagram saying – “We are just as disappointed as you! A World Cup is only every four years, and we had planned so much. We are sorry that we did not play as world champion.”
“Therefore, we are well deserved to be knocked out, as bitter as it is.
“In Rio 2014 we celebrated together. But sports also include defeat and recognition when the opponents were better.
“We congratulate Sweden and Mexico on their progress and South Korea on yesterday’s victory.”
Midfielder Mesut Ozil stayed off social media in the aftermath of the defeat, despite having provided regular updates to his 23 million followers over the last few days.
Defender Mats Hummels though did post a crying emoji with the word “Sorry”.
Meanwhile, coach Joachim Low will be giving a thought to what the future holds for him despite only signing a new contract in May until 2022.
Asked whether he will continue as the German coach in a press conference, he said – “That’s hard to say.
“Of course, it takes a couple of hours to look into that. I’m shocked, I’m shocked because we didn’t manage to pull it off.
“Where we go from here, we’ll have to talk about it calmly. It will take me some hours now to come to terms with it. I’m incredibly disappointed by this elimination.”
Mit großen Ambitionen sind wir das Turnier angetreten, jetzt sitzen wir schon wieder im Flieger zurück nach Deutschland. Dass es so ist haben wir uns leider selbst zuzuschreiben, wir haben nicht die Leistung gebracht die wir von uns erwartet haben und ihr von uns erwarten durftet. Dieser Stachel sitzt sehr tief und wird auch noch länger schmerzen, eine WM ist nur alle 4 Jahre und dementsprechend ist es lange hin wieder die Chance zu kriegen das zu korrigieren. Wir wollen euch für die Unterstützung danken, vor Ort in Russland aber auch zuhause und ich mich an dieser Stelle noch für die unglaublich vielen aufmunternden Nachrichten die mich in den sozialen Netzwerken erreicht haben. Und auch die kritischen Nachrichten sind angebracht und akzeptieren wir. Ab September haben wir als Nationalmannschaft wieder die Chance uns zu rehabilitieren und zu zeigen wieviel besser wir es können.
Germany’s World Cup exit has left the ousted champions with a number of questions to answer.
Here we look at where it went wrong for Joachim Low‘s side.
Low appeared to bring unnecessary scrutiny on himself even before the tournament began by leaving out Manchester City winger Leroy Sane, the Professional Footballers’ Association Young Player of the Year.
The thinking was that Julian Brandt fitted better into the national team system – but he played just 19 minutes over the three games.
Low opted not to freshen up his side too much with an injection of youth and pace, and he instead kept faith with many of the players who had done the job four years previously.
He picked 11 players aged 28 or older in his squad, having had just seven in the same bracket for 2014, pushing the average age up from 25.7 to 26.6.
Nine members of the 2014 squad went to Russia and the majority of them were first choice for at least two of Germany’s matches.
However, few seemed to justify their inclusion on form in the preceding months. Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer had not played a club match since September, centre-back Jerome Boateng had not been convincing for Bayern Munich and midfielder Mesut Ozil had a poor campaign for Arsenal.
When the World Cup started it quickly became apparent Sami Khedira looked every one of his 31 years in midfield while Thomas Muller, with 16 goals for Bundesliga champions Bayern, had not scored since April.
The coach signed a new contract until 2022 in May which would take his reign to 16 years should he see it out. But the methods which had seen him reach the semi-finals of every major tournament appeared to have run their course in Russia.
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.
Results had not been encouraging leading into the tournament with the 2-1 friendly victory over Saudi Arabia their only prior win of 2018.
Low has subsequently admitted he felt there was a sense of superiority leading up to the 1-0 defeat to Mexico in their opening World Cup game.
He said: “I had the feeling that there was perhaps a certain arrogance before the Mexico game (within the camp) – like we would be able to react at the touch of a button when it all starts.”
German magazine Sport Bild also reported a rift had developed in the side between players who were big on social media, such as Ozil, and the Bayern contingent.
Ozil and Ilkay Gundogan also brought focus on the team when they were pictured in May with controversial Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan ahead of his country’s elections, leading to Germany’s political leaders asking for explanations.
Despite an underwhelming World Cup campaign so far, France topped Group C and will face Argentina in the round of 16 on Saturday.
The South Americans endured a far more treacherous path to the knockout stages, needing a last-gasp winner against Nigeria in their final group game to sneak through as runners-up in Group D.
Both sides boast plenty of attacking talent but have flattered to deceive in Russia.
Here’s a look at some of the key players who could decide the encounter.
Paul Pogba v Ever Banega
With his price tag, frequent and flamboyant haircuts and tendency to be over elaborate in possession, Paul Pogba is often an easy target for criticism. Having been benched – presumably owing to the booking he was carrying – for the clash with Denmark though, it looked as if they missed him with the midfield looking increasingly flat in his absence.
He hasn’t been at his best in Russia as evidenced by his sloppy passing and careless dispossessions but at least he’s strived to make an impact in attack with more key passes and dribbles than any of the other French midfielders. With a little more support around him, he could make them tick again.
For a midfield starved of creativity, the fact that Ever Banega’s inclusion from the start against Nigeria was an anomaly is criminal. His dominant performance though should see him retain his place. He had more touches (111), passes (90) and key passes (3) than anyone else on the pitch.
His distribution was phenomenal as well with all five of his long balls hitting their targets, including that delightful ping over the top of the defence for Messi to score the opener. His capricious nature, on and off the field, has always been a concern but at 29, his antics have taken a backseat. Argentina could use a bit of that unpredictability in the middle of the pitch.
Antoine Griezmann vs Lionel Messi
One successful penalty aside, Antoine Griezmann – like so many of his team-mates – has struggled to make an impression at this World Cup.
Playing in a France side that deigns to entertain, his performances have been more workman like than talismanic. If Les Bleus are to go far in this tournament, the Atletico Madrid star will have to come good sooner rather than later.
Meanwhile, much has been expected of Lionel Messi in Russia. Widely considered the best player in the world and arguably of all-time, his lack of silverware with Argentina leaves a void in his legacy.
After a missed penalty in the 1-1 draw with Iceland, Messi would’ve been forgiven for experiencing an all-too-familiar sinking feeling which was no doubt compounded when he was anonymous during a 3-0 defeat to Croatia. However, he delivered with a stunning goal against Nigeria before Marcos Rojo’s winner saw Argentina sneak through to the round of 16. Messi, like so many Argentines, may be daring to dream again.
Raphael Varane vs Marcos Rojo
Despite his less than convincing displays at times in a Real Madrid shirt this past season, Raphael Varane has enjoyed a flawless World Cup campaign so far. The centre-back has been confident on the ball and dominant in the air but he hasn’t had too many defensive interventions to make, it has to be said.
Much of that is down to France’s cautious approach as a unit, a far cry from Madrid’s oft devil-may-care attacking forays. He may have a lot more to deal with as the tournament progresses.
Rojo’s exclusion from the starting line-up was just one of several calamitous decisions Jorge Sampaoli made for the clash with Croatia. The Manchester United centre-back has been one of Argentina’s better performers in defence as evidenced by his contributions against Nigeria.
His selection doesn’t come without risk though as he is prone to the odd reckless challenge but a heroic late goal to qualify Argentina for the knockout stages means he’s pretty much untouchable at the moment.