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How Germany fared in crucial group games at the World Cup

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Vaughan: Jan Christian Muller

2018 – Kazan embarrassment: Germany lost 0:2 against South Korea. © imago/Moritz Müller

Voler relies on Ramelo, Klinsmann on flow, Löw a bunch of little rascals, and a look back at crucial World Cup group games.

Two goals, one point, last place. This is a paltry record for the German national team ahead of their crucial World Cup preliminary round match against Costa Rica. A draw will not be enough on Thursday (8 pm / ARD). Let’s look back together; Not to the very distant past, but to this millennium. A cloak of silence can be carefully draped over both, with embarrassing early exits at the European Championships in 2000 (0:3 against Portugal in Rotterdam) and four years later in Lisbon (1:2 against the Czech Republic). Instead, we focus on the World Championships after the 2002 tournament in Japan and South Korea.

Shizuoka, 11. June 2002: Opened a year ago, Shizuoka Stadium looks like a sauna. The humidity was in the 80s and 90s and Germany against Cameroon, the “Irresistible Lions” coached by German coach Winfried Schaefer. Arriving with low expectations, the DFB team started this World Cup in a surprising fashion. 8-0 against Saudi Arabia at the closed Sapporo Dome. Soon after, a 1-1 draw against Ireland in Kashima. Robbie Keane conceded the goal in the last minute. Hanging heads. Pressure, pressure, pressure on Cameron.

Especially when Carsten Ramelo, who had already received a yellow card, was shown a yellow-red card after 40 minutes for a foul on Samuel Eto’o. Leverkusen provide a classic libero. This position was originally considered discontinued at the time. But team boss Rudi Voller is relying on Ramelo. Voller starts in the same formation in all preliminary round games. He changes during the interval. Modern back four without Ramelo, Marco Bode in, Carsten Janker out. Miró Klose storms one-on-one, with Bode constantly jabbing from the left. Klose himself then made it 2-0 after 50 minutes with the scores and Klose’s superb preparation to make it 1-0.

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At night, the team plane will leave Japan for South Korea instead of Germany. Destination: Vacation Island in Jeju Island. With three 1-0 wins against Paraguay, the USA and hosts South Korea, Voller shuffled through to the final in Yokohama with his side – losing unhappily 0-2 without Michael Ballack. The team manager and players are celebrated after arriving in Frankfurt.

Berlin, June 20, 2006: After wins against Costa Rica (4-2 in Munich) and Poland (1-0 in Dortmund), Jurgen Klinsmann’s team was exhausted before the match against Ecuador. They won 3-0 at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin and advanced to the semi-finals. And there, after extra time, it ended against eventual world champions Italy.

Johannesburg, 23 June 2010: A cold evening in the South African winter. Long-Jones temperature. Germany vs Ghana at Soccer City Final Stadium. Joachim Law’s Rascals swept Australia 4-0 in warm Durban. They then lost 1-0 to Serbia at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth. Miró Klose was yellow-red and suspended, while Lukasz Podolski missed a penalty.

So there is maximum pressure on Ghana in the German team quarters at the Wellmore Hotel, far from the capital Pretoria. Germany in black, playing with shaky legs – still winning. Mesut Ozil hits it to the left from 20 yards.

Impressive performances followed against England in Bloemfontein (4-1) and Diego Maradona’s Argentina (4-0) at the beautiful Green Point Stadium in Cape Town. It ended only in the semi-final against Spain in Durban. 0:1 Spain became world champions. Germany third.

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Recife, 26. June 2014: It has been raining for hours. Streets: Flooded. Location: Difficult to play. Jürgen Klinsmann coached Germany against the USA after beating Portugal 4-0 only to draw 2-2 with Ghana. Nerves strained. Jogi Lo is dripping wet. Thomas Muller made it 1-0 with his fourth goal of the tournament with a low shot.

Then: 2-1 after extra time against Algeria in the Round of 16 in Porto Alegre, more luck than means. 1-0 against France in the quarter-finals in Rio and 7-1 against Brazil in Belo Horizonte. 1-0 in the final after extra time against Argentina. World champion The winning pilot makes an extra lap in Berlin before landing.

Below, 27. June 2018: After a false start against Mexico in Moscow (0-1) and a 2-1 win against Sweden in Sochi, strangled by Toni Kroos’ last-minute shot, Joachim Low’s side need a win against South Korea. But the game against already eliminated Asian stars turns out to be one of the most embarrassing performances by a German national team.

After a 2-0 defeat and a short night in the infamous team quarters at Watutingi, the humiliated landed unrecognized in Frankfurt the following afternoon. This time not on the winner’s plane, but on an Airbus where even the on-board toilet in business class didn’t work.

2002 – Shizuoka's rescue: Marco Bode (scoreboard) and Miroslav Klose score 2-0 against Cameroon.
2002 – Shizuoka’s rescue: Marco Bode (scoreboard) and Miroslav Klose score 2-0 against Cameroon. © imago/Sven Simon

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