Saturday 24 August 2019

World Cup player watch: Defending champions Germany condemned to early exit

The latest on what the players at the World Cup have been up to as the third round of group games continue.

Defending champions Germany suffered a group-stage exit for the first time (Michael Probst/AP/PA)
Defending champions Germany suffered a group-stage exit for the first time (Michael Probst/AP/PA)

By Josh Luckhurst, Press Association Sport

South Korea pulled off the biggest shock of the 2018 World Cup in Russia after defeating Germany 2-0 to send the holders home at the group stage for the first time.

Germany needed to beat South Korea to advance to the knockout stages but stoppage-time goals from Kim Young-gwon and Tottenham forward Son Heung-min secured an unlikely victory.

Kim Young-gwon scored South Korea’s opener against Germany (Frank Augstein/AP/PA)
Son Heung-min scored South Korea’s second goal (Michael Probst/AP/PA)
Thomas Muller, right, and Mario Gomez after Germany’s exit from the World Cup (Thanassis Stavrakis/AP/PA)

Mexico and Sweden were the nations which capitalised on Germany’s demise after the European team ran out comfortable 3-0 winners over the Central Americans, and players from both sides could not hide their delight at progressing to the last 16.

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Elsewhere, England take on Roberto Martinez’s Belgium on Thursday evening with their last-16 berth already secured, but top spot remains up for grabs in Group G.

Both sides have prolific goalscorers in their line-ups with England’s Harry Kane leading the race for the Golden Boot with five goals in his two matches, while Romelu Lukaku is just one behind ahead of the clash at Kaliningrad Stadium.

And Gareth Southgate has ensured the team is ready defensively during training at Spartak Zelenogorsk Stadium on Wednesday.

England players during the training session at Spartak Zelenogorsk Stadium (Owen Humphreys/PA)

The players looked in good spirits ahead of their final group game before they flew to Kaliningrad in the afternoon.

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Australia may have made their exit from the tournament but forward Tim Cahill enjoyed a little bit of sightseeing with his family in Russia.

And finally, Denmark, who will take on Croatia in the last 16 following a drab 0-0 draw with France, celebrated their passage to the knockout stages with a team meal.

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Team dinner 👌🏻🇩🇰

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