By Emmanuel Ebimoh
If there was any doubt about the twists and turns in football, yesterday’s magical events would have settled it. In what was an enthralling and astonishing encounter, four times winners of the World Cup and defending champions, Germany were knocked out of the ongoing competition after losing 2-0 to South Korea at the Kazan Arena, Kazan, Russia. Going into the match, Germany needed a win against their opponent who were already out of the competition, while hoping Mexico wins Sweden in the other game played simultaneously at the Ekaterinburg Arena.
German coach Joachim Low, who took them to victory at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, made five changes to his team from their last match. It was expected that after their superb comeback against Sweden, the defending champions will easily run over South Korea who had already lost their previous two matches. But the Koreans had other plans. Two goals in stoppage time – first from Kim Young-gwon in the 92nd minute, which was initially ruled out for offside before being awarded after a video assistant referee decision, and Son Heung-min’s 96 minute tap-in meant 2014 world champions, Germany were out of the World Cup.
It is the first time since 1938 that Germany has failed to advanced beyond the first stage of the World Cup, finishing bottom in their group.
Elsewhere, in the other game played simultaneously, Sweden pulled off a surprise 3-0 victory over Mexico to finish top of the group. The fantastic Mexicans who had already won their first two games needed at least a draw to be sure of qualification. Sweden needed a good win while hoping that South Korea would do them a favour by beating Germany or getting a draw. The group was well poised till the very last minute in both games. In the end, it was a resounding victory for one, and a shocking defeat for another.
In the last games played yesterday, 5 times winners, Brazil were able to see-off Serbia 2-0 in a nervy encounter with Paulinho and Thiago Silva getting on the score sheet, while Switzerland drew 2-2 with Costa Rica in a nail-biting showdown. Brazil finished top of the group with 7 points, while Switzerland are second with 5 points.
Today, Japan will hope to cement top spot when they take on struggling Poland, and African team, Senegal will battle with Colombia in what will be a crunch encounter. Senegal only need a draw to qualify for the next round, while Columbia desperately need all 3 points to ensure qualification.
In the last group, top seeded teams, England and Belgium will decide who finishes first and second, while Panama and Tunisia will fight for a consolation.
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Emmanuel Ebimoh is a Writer, Blogger, and Social Media Strategist. You can reach him on Facebook and LinkedIn at Emmanuel Ebimoh. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org