How many times have Germany been eliminated in the group stage of the World Cup?
Other than their recent debacle, 2018 has been the only other edition of the World Cup in which the German team has lost in the group stage of this contest.
Germany is one of the most successful countries at the World Cup. With four titles, the German squad is just one win behind Brazil, the team with the most championships in the history of this competition. In most soccer tournaments, the European team has experienced moments of glory. Only on a few occasions have they known outright failure.
In a competition like the World Cup, to fail means to fall in the first round. That is, in the group stage. Brazil is the only team that hasn’t gone through that experience. Germany has, yes, but only once before this year. It is not necessary to go back too far in time to see when the Germans first fell in the initial round of a World Championship.
2018, the first time Germany made an early exit
To find out the first time the four-time champion left a World Cup in the earliest phase, you have to go back to the last edition of the tournament. In Russia 2018, the defending champions suffered what is known as the ‘curse of the champions’. The German team, at the time coached by Joachim Löw, was one of the great favorites to win the cup, but the situation ended in a very different fashion.
In their first match, it was seen that the German role was going to be very different from what had happened in other championships. Their game against South Korea brought one of the biggest surprises of that World Championship. The Asian team did the trick and beat Germany effectively. With two goals, the Korean squad asserted itself against a European team that struggled in the competition from that moment on.
The second match was key for Germany. After the loss to South Korea, the game against Sweden was a matter of life and death for the Germans. On that occasion, they did not fail, since they won by a result of two goals to one. The Nordics came very close to delivering another big surprise, but the win gave some breathing room to one of the most successful squads in the history of the World Cup.
Mexico caused the fall of Germany in Russia 2018
After managing to score the first three points of the competition, Germany, aware of what was at stake, entered the match against Mexico with confidence. This duel, the third and last of the group stage, was do or die for the Germans, who, if they failed to win and were defeated by the Mexican team, would be left out of the World Championship in the first round. This was something historic that had never happened in the entire history of this tournament to the squad that had won the trophy on four occasions.
However, reality put an end to the aspirations of Löw’s team. In the match, Mexico made history. With the goal from Hirving Lozano, the El Tri squad prevailed against the dominance of Germany. Despite the fact that the Mannschaft shot up to 26 times, it was not enough to prevent the surprising elimination of a team that, just four years before, had lifted the trophy in Brazil.
1978, the most similar precedent, although with nuances
In order to find a precedent with any similarity, one must go back to the year 1978, when Germany was separated into two camps. On that occasion, the country could not get past the second group stage, although it did get past the first. This is the big difference from what happened at the Russia World Cup 2018.
In that tournament, West Germany, as it was known, started with a 0-0 draw against Poland. In the second match, the German team, who, curiously, was playing with Mexico, devastated the Central American team, scoring six goals to nil. In the third and final clash of that first round, they drew 0-0, guaranteeing their presence in the next round.
However, things went wrong in that second group stage. The first match brought up a duel against Italy, which they drew 0-0. In the next match against Netherlands, the result was repeated: 0-0. Finally, the match against Austria sealed the defeat of the Germans. The Austrian team won 3-2 and knocked out Federal Germany in that World Cup that Argentina ended up winning.
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