BERLIN. — From chants of “goodbye” to stunned silence, Germany fans reacted with dismay to their defending champions’ humiliating Soccer World Cup exit on Wednesday after a first-round loss commentators called a “historic disgrace”.
“Our World Cup nightmare has come true,” screamed the Bild daily.
Even before the final whistle blew in Russia’s Kazan Arena, supporters in Berlin had begun leaving the city’s so-called fan mile, disappointed by Germany’s lacklustre performance against South Korea in a match heavy with missed opportunities.
Those who remained applauded sarcastically when South Korea’s Son Heung-min scored a late second goal into an empty net.
Calls of “Raus (Out)” and “Auf Wiedersehen (goodbye)” rang out from the fan zone as the weight of the 2-0 loss sunk in.
“These aren’t world champions, they didn’t fight at all,” fumed 27-year-old Oliver Fischer, wearing a Germany jersey.
“We absolutely deserve to be out. We had no fight, no courage, no ideas!”
Others erupted into tears and buried their heads in their hands as a sense of disbelief spread through the crowd at Germany’s largest public viewing area.
“Speechless,” read a one-word tweet on the German team’s official Twitter account, summing up the national mood.
The defeat was the first time four-time champions Germany have been knocked out of the World Cup group stages since 1938.
The country now joins a small but unlucky club of title defenders who crashed out of the first round at their next World Cup, a feat last achieved by Spain at the last World Cup in 2014.
“It’s a historic disgrace,” Der Spiegel weekly said, decrying Germany’s “weak game” against a plucky South Korea.
Germany had needed a clear win to move into the last 16, but a series of wasted chances saw the team finish last in Group F.
Chancellor Angela Merkel, speaking at a Berlin event about artificial intelligence, expressed her sadness in a “discussion” with a robot named Sophia, who noted how successful the German team had been in the past.
Merkel responded: “Yes, that’s true seen over a long timeframe. But tonight we’re all very sad.”