Germany exit in World Cup ‘disaster’ as debutants Morocco advance

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Brisbane: A Women’s World Cup full of shocks had its biggest yet when Germany were dumped out in the group phase on Thursday following a stalemate with South Korea, with debutants Morocco progressing instead.
Germany’s 1-1 draw with the Koreans coupled with Morocco’s surprise 1-0 victory over Colombia saw the European side suffer their earliest exit in Women’s World Cup history.
The two-time former champions and one of the pre-tournament favourites follow Brazil, Italy and Olympic champions Canada out of the competition at the first hurdle.
Colombia topped Group H despite losing and will face Jamaica in the last 16.
Morocco progressed into the knockouts also with two wins and a defeat — that being a 6-0 thrashing by Germany — and meet France next.
Germany were third and condemned to an early flight home.
“To be honest, it’s still hard to understand,” skipper Alexandra Popp, who scored the German goal and was their chief threat throughout, told German TV network ZDF.
“I still can’t quite understand what happened here.”
Coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg said: “If you want to see it as a disaster in sporting terms, then it’s hard to argue against it.”
The 2003 and 2007 winners came into the game in front of just under 39,000 in Brisbane knowing that a win over South Korea would put them in the last 16.
But they started badly, conceding to a smart Cho So-hyun finish after just six minutes and looking shaky at the back early on.
Colin Bell’s South Korea looked nothing like the team that lost 2-0 to Colombia and 1-0 to Morocco.
Germany equalised just before half-time with a Popp header but for all their possession, last year’s European finalists failed to get the second goal they desperately needed.
Popp hit the bar and thought she had won it in the second half with another fierce header, but it was ruled out by VAR for off-side.
Sydney Lohmann’s effort went just over deep in stoppage time and Germany now needed a favour from Colombia.
A draw would have been enough for Germany had Morocco not sprung a surprise of their own in Perth.
Anissa Lahmari’s goal in first-half stoppage time, after captain Ghizlane Chebbak’s penalty kick was spectacularly saved, won it for Morocco.
With the Morocco game ending slightly before events in Brisbane, the Atlas Lionesses faced an anxious wait.
When Germany’s fate was sealed the Moroccan players went wild on the pitch.
Their French coach Reynald Pedros is relishing facing his homeland.
“It is special because it is France. I know the French players very well, maybe that will help us,” he said.
The Koreans finished bottom of the group with one point but at least salvaged some pride.

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