BERLIN (AP) — Germans shook their heads in disbelief Wednesday after their defending champion team was eliminated from the group stage of the World Cup in a 2-0 loss to South Korea.
Tens of thousands of fans watched the German team’s lackluster performance from Berlin’s “Fan Mile” — a major downtown street running from the landmark Brandenburg Gate to the Victory Column that was shut to traffic and set up as a public viewing area.
As the game wound down, people started sneaking away and then streaming home after South Korea’s second goal in the final minutes.
Germany needed a win to have a shot at advancing from Group F but conceded two goals in stoppage time in the 2-0 loss to South Korea after squandering many chances to score. The result allowed Sweden and Mexico to advance.
“I don’t understand it,” said a disappointed Tim Mueller, a fan wearing a Germany T-shirt who lingered at the Fan Mile after many had left.
Like many, he directed his frustration at team coach Joachim Loew, who he said pursued too much of a defensive strategy.
“I think honestly Loew must resign immediately, he needs to give it up,” Mueller said. “He couldn’t motivate the team and get them ready for the game.”
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert took the stiff-upper-lip approach, tweeting after the loss “Not our World Cup – that is sad! More tournaments will come where we can celebrate.”
Leaving a patio bar at Berlin’s Alexanderplatz, an upset Tiffany Tuchen said Germany gave up too many chances to win.
“I can’t believe it, my pulse was 180 the whole game, but they deserved to lose,” she said.
Her friend Kerstin Fahrenholz swore off watching any of the rest of the World Cup games, lamenting: “The worst case scenario actually happened.”
Berliner Juhan Szok said he was disappointed, but was trying to be optimistic.
“We’re out now, but there’s still the European Championship,” he said, referring to the European Football Championship coming up in 2020. “Then we’ll be European champions.”