South Korea players celebrate as their 2-0 win helps knock holders Germany out at the group stage
Germany just could not get out of second gear and failed to breach South Korea’s defence, finally succumbing to two stoppage-time goals from Kim Young-gwon and Son Heung-min to complete a 2-0 defeat that sent them packing.
In a must-win match for the European powerhouse, this was an embarrassingly tepid display.
Germany are renowned for their discipline and organisation but neither came to the fore in this short-lived campaign. The well-drilled movement, the carousel of passing and trademark efficiency in front of goal – none featured as their title defence was brought to an embarrassing end.
A 1-0 defeat to Mexico, a streaky last-gasp 2-1 victory over Sweden and a humiliating 2-0 defeat to South Korea that dumped them out of in the group stages – all the while playing with the handbrake on and failing to strike fear in the hearts of inferior opposition. It’s almost as if the high-profile yet disappointing England sides of years gone by conspired to masquerade as the reigning world champions in Russia.
Having spent 12 years in the hot seat as the Germany national team boss, Joachim Low’s presence in the dugout was supposed to yield stability and ensure that well-laid plans were brought to fruition. Surely his experience and in-depth knowledge of the squad would give the team a massive advantage over competing hopefuls?
Instead, the 58-year-old has proved stubborn with his selection and determined to be set in his ways. His side finally looked more threatening in the second half against Sweden when he made a much-needed alteration. Werner was moved to the left flank while Mario Gomez was introduced into the middle.
It immediately paid dividends as they had the Swedes on the ropes, created chances from crosses and managed to get the two goals they needed. While that strategy clearly had a bearing on his set-up against South Korea, he only opted for a variation of his tried-and-tested system.
Werner started up front again but was allowed the freedom to run the left channel with Leon Goretzka – starting on the right – then occupying the space in the middle that the striker vacated. However, that was neither here nor there.
It only seemed to create confusion with Werner, Reus and Jonas Hector occupying the same areas at times or the Borussia Dortmund playmaker drifting inside and often getting in the way of Ozil. Sami Khedira had another nothing performance.
If Goretzka were to play in his central midfield position instead with Gomez starting and Werner on the left, perhaps they would’ve generated the same attacking threat they did against the Swedes.
South Korea bow out in the group stages of the competitions but they have been far more impressive than the Germans. The Asian outfit suffered narrow defeats to Sweden and Mexico but had they been more composed in front of goal, it could’ve been a very different story for them.
A year on from returning to his boyhood club after a record-breaking spell at Manchester United, the 32-year-old is set to move to Major League Soccer.
Press Association Sport understands Rooney will complete his switch to Washington by the end of the week, ending his second spell at the Toffees.
Noises from the United States suggests confirmation will come sooner rather than later, with the forward set to kick off a new chapter of his career.
DC United have held a long-standing interest in Rooney, who last summer made an emotional return to Everton after 13 medal-laden years at Old Trafford.
The frontman became all-time top scorer for United and England during his time away from Goodison Park, winning five Premier League titles and a Champions League among a glut of other trophies.
Rooney spoke of an exciting new challenge upon his return to Everton, but is now set to leave halfway through a two-year deal.
Newly-appointed manager Marco Silva and director of football Marcel Brands said earlier this month that they would not stand in his way if he wanted to head to DC United.
“Before I arrived it was something that had already started,” Silva said at his unveiling earlier this month.
“It is something we expect, in the next few days, we will talk with Wayne Rooney (about) because he is a club legend and we need to understand everything.
“The door is open every time for him. We will talk with him but it is Wayne’s decision.”
Brands added: “There is a possibility he could leave. He is talking with Washington, it is not a secret.
“Of course we will talk with him and, if this is a move he wants to make and is the next step in his career, then I can only hope he will return when he is finished there because I think he still is a legend in this club.
“I always hoped do to that at (former club) PSV and I hope to do that here, to use the legends at the club.”
DC United are about to move into their new Audi Field home, which opens against New England Revolution on July 14.
Rooney will not be able to play for the MLS side until the secondary transfer window opens on July 10.
The Italian giants have been excluded from the competition after being found to have breached the governing body’s licensing and Financial Fair Flay regulations.
A statement confirmed the club, who finished sixth in Serie A last season, had failed to meet the “break-even requirement”.
Milan will have the right to appeal against the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
UEFA’s statement read: “The club is excluded from participating in the next UEFA club competition for which it would otherwise qualify.”
The seven-times European champions were referred to UEFA’s club financial control body last month having sustained losses for several years.
The club are reported to have argued their finances are now stable as a result of their takeover by Li Yonghong last year but UEFA has still acted.
The punishment could increase speculation over the futures of goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma and defender Leonardo Bonucci, who have persistently been linked with moves away from the San Siro.