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World Cup holders Germany stunned by early exit

Germany's Mario Gomez, Mats Hummels and Niklas Suele are dejected after their side's early World Cup exit
By Press Association Sport staff

World Cup Group F: South Korea 2 Germany 0

GERMANY boss Joachim Low has admitted his shock at the reigning champions' World Cup exit after a stunning 2-0 defeat by South Korea.

The four-time champions finished bottom of Group F after stoppage-time goals from Kim Young-gwon and Son Heung-min secured a famous victory for the Koreans in a dramatic conclusion in Kazan.

It is the first time the Germans have gone out of the finals in the group stage and left Low fielding questions over his future.

He said at a post-match press conference: "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 today.

"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."

Germany saw Sweden clinch a 3-0 victory against Mexico in Nizhny Novgorod, meaning a win against South Korea would have been enough to progress.

However, Die Mannschaft were once again far from at their best, with defender Mats Hummels particularly wasteful in front of goal.

Kim was not so profligate when he fired home from close range - although he was initially given offside before a VAR review sparked renewed celebrations - and Son completed the job.

Asked about Kim's strike, which was allowed after Toni Kroos was adjudged to have played the ball backwards, Low said: "The player was in an offside position - that's what I saw.

"But if the video referees have taken a different decision, then they will probably be right."

Low and his players will return to Germany on Thursday, but with the coach dismissing suggestions that dark times could lie ahead.

He said: "Until quite recently, we have probably been the most consistent, in terms of performance, team in the past 10, 12 years.

"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."

For opposite number Shin Tae-yong, there were mixed feelings with the capture of a scalp only partial compensation for his side's exit from the finals.

Shin, who had given South Korea a one per cent chance of victory before the game, said: "I feel great, but at the same time, I feel a little bit empty, so I feel a little ambivalent.

"Yesterday, we said that there was only a one per cent chance, so I told my players it was really a last-ditch effort for them and I told them that they had to fight until the very end.

"Germany are the defending champions, they are number one in the FIFA rankings.

"They probably felt they would be able to beat us - because that's what everybody thought - so I hoped we could use that as a reverse strategy, and that really hit the nail on the head."

World Cup Group F: Mexico 0 Sweden 3

JANNE Andersson praised his Sweden side as they reached the second round of the World Cup and helped dump Germany out.

Ludwig Augustinsson's strike, Andreas Granqvist's penalty and Edson Alvarez's clumsy own goal gave Sweden a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Mexico.

The Scandinavians topped Group F after starting Wednesday third, needing to better Germany's result to qualify for the knockout stages, where they will play Switzerland.

Germany's shock 2-0 defeat to South Korea - which eliminated the defending champions - allowed Mexico to progress too.

"We have handled the things that have happened - I'm so incredibly proud, moved almost, by the thought of how we performed in the match," Sweden boss Andersson told a press conference.

It was Sweden's biggest win in a World Cup match since 1994, when they beat Bulgaria 4-0 in the third-place play-off match.

They had to wait until the second half for the breakthrough after being denied a penalty before the interval after Javier Hernandez handled.

Augustinsson struck in the 50th minute and Granqvist smashed home a penalty seven minutes later after Hector Moreno fouled Marcus Berg.

Alvarez completed Mexico's poor day on the pitch with a calamitous own goal but they survived in Russia thanks to South Korea's win over Germany.

Jesus Gallardo's yellow card after 13 seconds - the World Cup's fastest booking - should have given Mexico an idea they were in for a tricky time.

Mexico - who will play Group E winners Brazil - reached the second round as runners-up but boss Juan Carlos Osorio insists he was stung by the result.

"We qualified because we beat Germany and Korea but nevertheless I am very hurt," he said.

"For the first time in many, many games when we play against a team that play that approach, direct football, we had this formation.

"Usually we play three at the back with a midfielder in front to protect. Today I decided to play four and we didn't succeed in our penetration in the last third - and we allowed them to score three goals which I think is too many.

"My feelings in the last few minutes, my feelings in general, were that I wasn't too happy with the way we defended at all."

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