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Women’s World Cup: Germany misses round of 16 – “Can’t understand what’s going on here”

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Women’s World Cup: Germany misses round of 16 – “Can’t understand what’s going on here”

Football Women’s World Cup

Historical embarrassment – “I can’t understand what’s going on here”

Status: 03.08.2023 | Reading time: 5 minutes

Historical disgrace – Germany fails for the first time in the preliminary round

The German national team cannot get beyond a draw against outsiders South Korea and says goodbye to the World Cup. For the first time in history, the DFB women fail in the preliminary round.

The German national team only played 1-1 against South Korea in the decisive group game of the Women’s World Cup. Because Morocco wins in the parallel game, the DFB women miss the round of 16. It’s a historical disgrace. Players and national coach are looking for explanations.

Stunned, Alexandra Popp looked into space and shook her head again and again. The German women footballers experienced the greatest embarrassment in their history in Australia and were eliminated in the preliminary round of a World Cup a good six months after the DFB men in Qatar. The team of national coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg put on a completely erratic performance against South Korea on Thursday and only managed to draw 1-1 (1-1). As a result, the DFB selection had to let Morocco (1-0 against Colombia) pass them in Group H and were thrown out of the tournament in third place.

“To be honest, it’s still hard to comprehend. I don’t know what to say. I can’t understand what’s going on here. I don’t know what to say,” Alexandra Popp struggled for words after the end. The captain’s face was horrified. “It’s difficult to analyze now. That’s impossible. It was basically bumpy over the three games. That wasn’t our aim. But I can’t say what exactly caused it. I do not understand any of this.”

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In front of 38,945 spectators in Brisbane, Popp equalized So-Hyun Cho’s lead (6th) with her fourth goal of the tournament (42nd minute). After beating Morocco 6-0 and losing 2-1 against Colombia, the German women didn’t think much about the outsider from Asia for a long time. Instead of playing France or Jamaica in the round of 16, they now have to fly home. It is the worst performance in nine World Cup tournaments so far. Four years ago in France, Germany lost to Sweden in the quarter-finals. In 2003 and 2007, the DFB teams won the title, which was the stated goal this time as well.

Shocked faces: Germany’s soccer players were eliminated for the first time in the preliminary round


“What a drama! Sometimes it just sucks. Cheer up,” wrote Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) on Twitter. Defense chief Marina Hegering shed tears of disappointment. Voss-Tecklenburg tried to build up their battered team in a first speech right after the final whistle. The national coach then sat all alone, stunned, on the bench. “We have to face that, first and foremost with me,” she said of the embarrassing early end. However, Voss-Tecklenburg, who had extended her contract until 2025 in April, did not draw any quick conclusions. “We haven’t talked about details yet. My priority now is to put myself in front of the team,” said Voss-Tecklenburg.

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For the first time at this World Cup, strikers Popp and Lea Schüller were in the German starting line-up. The FC Bayern goalscorer played up front, while the captain dropped back a bit. The Munich midfielder Lina Magull had to take a seat on the bench. “We want to get into the room, have more of the idea and the courage to develop goal threats. Now I hope that this knot will burst,” said Voss-Tecklenburg before kick-off in the ZDF interview. As with the Colombia game, when the fans of the caféteras turned the stadium in Sydney into a witch’s cauldron, the German fans were also pretty quiet in the Brisbane arena, which was by no means sold out.

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Popp often unlucky against South Korea

South Korea’s coach Colin Bell, who won the Champions League with 1. FFC Frankfurt in 2015, had set up the 16-year-old Casey Phair. The attacker, who was born in the USA, caused a huge shock in the German team and the supporters in the 3rd minute when she appeared free in front of Merle Frohms. The goalkeeper steered the ball with a brilliant act just to the outer post.

Inspired by this promising action, the South Koreans continued to attack quickly. When Kathrin Hendrich canceled the offside, Cho was through and this time pushed in to take the lead. Marina Hegering was also powerless: the defense chief made her tournament debut after a long-term heel injury and was supposed to strengthen the defense with her routine.

And the attack? The runners-up European champions looked for the crosses from Popp and Schüller, who were strong in the air, but rarely found them. Klara Bühl missed two promising chances in the first quarter of an hour – otherwise there was one ball loss after the other in the build-up game. Playmaker Sara Däbritz also found no gaps in her 100th international match.

Alexandra Popp was the sole entertainer in the German attack against South Korea


To make matters worse, Frohms had to be treated after a good half hour, but was able to continue. At least they managed to equalize before the break: Popp climbed up after a cross from Svenja Huth and scored her third headed goal at this World Cup. “Actually, we didn’t start the game well today. We found it very difficult for ourselves in the first ten minutes, we didn’t concentrate and made unnecessary mistakes,” said Joti Chatzialexiou, head of the national teams at DFB, at half-time.

National coach Voss-Tecklenburg at a loss

And for the Voss-Tecklenburg team things continued unhappily after the break: Another headed goal by Popp after Schüller’s artistic heel-heel was disallowed for offside (57′). After a break in treatment, the ailing captain headed onto the crossbar a few minutes later. In the end, the German players sank stunned onto the lawn. “I’m at a loss for words, I’m very disappointed,” said Jule Brand, visibly shocked after the final whistle. “We didn’t get our game on the pitch, we weren’t effective enough.”

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National coach Voss-Tecklenburg tried a flash analysis after the historic end: “We didn’t find our game today. We showed heart and had a few actions. But no clear chances to score the goal. We were shocked after going 1-0 down and didn’t play properly. There was a great sense of insecurity.”

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