Germany crashed out of the Women’s World Cup in the group stage for the first time in their history on Thursday after a frustrating 1-1 draw with South Korea allowed debutants Morocco to advance to the last 16 instead.
With Morocco beating Colombia 1-0 in Perth to join the South Americans on six points in Group H, Germany finished third in the table on four points and will be heading home.
World Cup winners in 2003 and 2007, Germany reached the European Championship final last year and came to Australia as one of the favourites to win the trophy.
They knew a win against South Korea would take them through to the knockout stage and were expected to get the better of a side who had lost their opening two matches and had next to no chance of advancing.
But after they went a goal up early on through Cho So-hyun, the Koreans battled hard and defended ferociously to frustrate their opponents, who could not find a winner following Alexandra Popp’s equaliser.
The Germans said before the game they wanted more creativity after their shock 2-1 loss to Colombia, but they were unable to convert their many chances.
They had 13 shots to their opponents’ six, but only three of those were on target as Korea put almost everyone behind the ball in defence.
Sixteen-year-old striker Casey Phair almost scored for Korea inside three minutes when she latched onto a through ball, but her shot was brilliantly saved by German goalkeeper Merle Frohms.
But three minutes later the Germans went behind from an almost identical move, Choe Yu-ri playing a ball through to Cho, whose side-foot effort beat Frohms to find the back of the net.
The goal seemed to spur the Germans into action, and they dominated possession and territory after that, although they couldn’t find a way through the Korean defence.
They found plenty of space out wide on both sides and when the equaliser came three minutes from the break, it was no surprise it was from a cross.
Svenja Huth put in a delightful ball for skipper Popp, who rose above the Korean defenders to powerfully head home.
The Germans came out firing after the break and threw everything at the Koreans.
They had a goal disallowed for offside in the 59th minute, before Popp smacked the bar with another header moments later.
As the clock ticked down the Germans became more and more desperate but despite plenty of endeavour, they never really looked like finding a winner in the 13 minutes of stoppage time.
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