The two-time world champions have been knocked out of the 2023 Women’s World Cup, failing to qualify for the last 16 of the tournament
Germany held by South Korea
In a stunning upset at the 2023 Women’s World Cup, two-time champions Germany were sent crashing out of the tournament in the group stages, marking the first time in their history they failed to reach the knockout rounds. The pre-tournament favorites faced a must-win situation against South Korea in Group H, knowing they needed a better result than Morocco’s against Colombia.
The match took place in Brisbane, and it started with an early blow to Germany‘s hopes as South Korea‘s Cho So-hyun found the net to give her team the lead. However, Germany‘s captain, Alexandra Popp, continued her impressive form, scoring her fourth goal in three matches just before halftime, leveling the score.
As the teams went off for the break, Germany were heading through as group runners-up due to Morocco leading against Colombia in Perth. But the tides turned dramatically when Morocco stunned Colombia with a late goal, leaving Germany with no choice but to win their match against South Korea.
Popp emerged as Germany‘s best hope for another goal, and she came close twice, hitting the crossbar with a powerful header and later sending a free header wide of the post. Frustration grew as the minutes ticked away for the German side, and despite sending numerous crosses into South Korea’s box during stoppage time, they couldn’t find the breakthrough they desperately needed.
Shockwaves sent through women’s football
At full-time, Germany‘s players fell to the ground in tears, consoled by staff members. The unexpected exit came as a surprise to many, given Germany’s dominant history in the tournament. Ranked second in the world, they had previously topped their group in eight out of nine tournament appearances and won consecutive titles in 2003 and 2007.
During this World Cup, Germany’s vulnerabilities were evident, with shaky defensive performances and too many mistakes in possession. They suffered a 2-1 loss to Colombia in their second match, putting their qualification at risk before the decisive encounter against South Korea.
South Korea’s 16-year-old Casey Phair threatened early on, with her strike pushed onto the post by German goalkeeper Merle Frohms. Cho So-hyun’s well-taken goal once again exposed Germany’s defensive frailties, but Popp’s equalizer kept them in the hunt.
As the match wore on, Germany grew increasingly frustrated and impatient, squandering several opportunities to take the lead. South Korea displayed resilience in defense and ran down the clock cleverly to secure a historic victory.
With this unexpected result, Germany became the third team ranked in the world’s top 10 to be eliminated in the group stages, following the exits of Olympic champions Canada and South American giants Brazil.
For German supporters, this early exit will send shockwaves, as they are accustomed to seeing their team advance deep into major tournaments. The disappointment comes just 12 months after Germany lost to England in the Euro 2022 final.