World champions Germany lacked the “absolute will” and desire and would have been eliminated in the knock-out stage in any case, Germany captain Manuel Neuer said after the match.
In damning comments following Germany’s 2-0 defeat to South Korea and early World Cup exit, Neuer said: “I think that all of us weren’t up for it and did not have the absolute will to show that we wanted to tear something down here at the World Cup.
“Even if it had worked out today it would have been over for us in the knock-out phase in the next game or the game after.”
The Bayern Munich keeper and 2014 World Cup winner, who had spent most of the season sidelined following a foot fracture, added: “We did not deserve it, it has to be said very clearly… We are responsible. It’s very bitter and also just pathetic.”
Defender Mats Hummels said: “The last game where we were convincing was in autumn 2017, that is quite a while ago.
“We were incredibly hectic from the 65th minute and lost our structure. If I headed the ball in (with a missed chance late in the game) we’d be speaking now how great it is to progress. Now we are speaking about something entirely different.
“It’s the biggest sporting disappointment of my life. We weren’t at the level you need for a World Cup.”
Midfielder Thomas Mueller, who fought back tears on the pitch after the final whistle, said: “We are all stunned. We have to digest this first and make sure we don’t break too much glass.”
Midfielder Toni Kroos did not rule out a generation change, saying: “It was always the case in the past that tournaments were a time for change.”
Sweden topped the group while Mexico went with second place.
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