World Cup 2018, Germany 0-2 South Korea: Best and worst players from the game
After a 2-0 defeat at the hands of an average South Korean side, Germany became the third successive title holders to go out in the group phase.
Die Mannschaft were widely expected to hit their straps against South Korea after Toni Kroos’ 94th-minute lighting bolt gave them a last-gasp win over a dogged Swedish outfit, but Joachim Lowe’s men instead put on their meekest display in recent memory.
The Bundestrainer, an institution in his homeland, will also find himself under the microscope for his poor team selection. Lowe reinstated Mesut Ozil and Sami Khedira, after dropping the pair against Sweden, while Leon Goretzka was brought in for Thomas Muller on the right-hand side.
Though Ozil, alongside Reus and Werner, helped to improve Germany's pressing and occasionally won the ball in good positions, Khedira and Goretzka often appeared laboured and hindered the approach play.
Since Germany’s seemingly never-ending conveyor belt of talent is still producing stars such as Joshua Kimmich, Niklas Sule, and Leroy Sane there is probably no need for another reboot at the grass-roots level.
However, this was, in all likelihood, the last stand for many of the heroes of 2014 — including Jerome Boating, Mats Hummels, Thomas Müller and Mesut Ozil — at an international tournament.
#1 Worst: Toni Kroos
Arguably the most technically-gifted central midfielder in world football today, Kroos is the heartbeat of the current German team.
The 28-year-old's forward passing and decision making are usually impeccable, allowing him to dictate games with ease and grace.
However, in this match, Kroos was unusually ponderous, often taking too many touches in his own half during build-up play.
The Real Madrid man also committed a few uncharacteristic turnovers and played an errant pass towards the end of the game, which resulted in the corner that ultimately led to South Korea's first goal.