Holders Germany crash out of World Cup after 2-0 defeat to South Korea

Germany's Niklas Sule is dejected after Germany crash out. (Reuters)
Updated 27 June 2018

Holders Germany crash out of World Cup after 2-0 defeat to South Korea

KAZAN: Germany crashed out of the World Cup on Wednesday after a stoppage-time VAR-assisted goal from Kim Young-gwon and a late second by Son Heung-min earned South Korea a famous 2-0 win.
The Germans needed to win by two clear goals in their final group F match at Kazan stadium to advance to the last 16.
But Joachim Loew's men wasted a series of chances in a tense match that saw a pale version of the world champions become the fourth holders of the title this century to be sent packing at the first hurdle.
Germany's team of superstars could only look on in shock in the final minutes of the match as US referee Mark Geiger called for the video assistant referee to intervene after the unmarked Kim had bundled his shot past Germany 'keeper Manuel Neuer from a corner early in stoppage time.
The goal was awarded because Toni Kroos' touch had played him onside, and minutes later Germany were 2-0 down after Neuer ran up the pitch in a desperate attempt to get a goal.
A long punt upfield saw Tottenham forward Son chase a clearance to fire into an empty net.
It means Germany, the four-time champions who had competed in the past 16 editions of the World Cup, fail to make it past the first hurdle of the tournament for the first time since 1938.
Germany coach Joachim Loew caused a surprise by leaving midfield attacking stalwart Thomas Mueller on the bench for the first time since 2012 after his underwhelming displays against Mexico and Sweden.
But by the end of a frustrating opening half, Loew was left desperately studying his options.
Germany suffered the first of several scares after South Korea won a free kick on the quarter hour when Sami Khedira's boot connected with the head of Jung Wooyoung.
From 30 yards out, it should have been fodder for World Cup-winning goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, but after fumbling Jung's dipping drive Neuer scrambled desperately to clear as Son raced to pounce.
Germany spurned a series of chances soon afterwards.
Marco Reus, who hit a crucial leveller in the 2-1 win over Sweden, saw his drive deflected and Mesut Ozil saw his effort deflected off a Korean boot and out for a corner, after which goalkeeper Hyeonwoo Jo smothered desperately when Goretzka's header found Hummels trying to pounce on the loose ball.
Germany resumed with more urgency after the interval, but despite edging closer when Loew introduced Mario Gomez just before the hour the big Stuttgart striker headed straight at Jo from Kimmich's cross.
Striker Timo Werner then met another Kimmich ball from the left byeline with a right-foot volley that skewed agonisingly wide of Jo's upright.
Germany urgency was not matched by their normal efficiency and soon legs started to tire.
Loew played his final card when he introduced Mueller for Leon Goretzka.
But the late changes failed to spark Germany into life as Korea hung on for a famous win that, unfortunately for the impressive Asians, saw them bow out after Sweden beat Mexico 3-0.


World number five Medvedev topbills first international tennis tournament in the Kingdom

Updated 19 November 2019

World number five Medvedev topbills first international tennis tournament in the Kingdom

DUBAI: Some of the greatest men’s players on the planet can use the upcoming $3 million Diriyah Tennis Cup in Saudi Arabia as ideal preparation for the Australia Open, says one of its big-name competitors.

World number five Russia’s Daniil Medvedev, is one of six confirmed names heading to the Diriyah Arena in the UNESCO world heritage site for the first international tennis tournament to be staged in the Kingdom, presented by Saudi Aramco on December 12 to and 14.

It has been a breakthrough year for the fan favorite, reaching six consecutive tournament finals, including one at the 2019 US Open and two at Masters 1000 events with a career high ranking of number 4.

Now Medvedev believes the competitive nature of the Diriyah Tennis Cup can provide an ideal platform to build on that success, especially with the first Grand Slam event of 2020, the Australian Open taking place a little more than a month after the Saudi tournament.

Medvedev said: “Saudi will be a big part of my preparation for the new season. Coming to Saudi the heat and conditions will be similar to Australia. It will be a great test for us.

“It’s in our pre-season so we’ll want to get that match time in to prepare for the new season – but the fans should expect us to fight hard like in any tournament. It will be competitive and hopefully they’ll be lots of fans coming to support us there.

“Hopefully I can play some great tennis, help the country raise awareness of the sport and inspire people to play. Looking at the players confirmed it’s a really great field.

“I’ve heard a lot of good things about Saudi Arabia. I’m excited to promote tennis there especially as it’s the first tournament.

The tournament is part of the Diriyah Season, an epic month of showcase sports events being hosted by the GSA. 

The Diriyah Tennis Cup showdown has confirmed six leading players to date for the inaugural tournament. As well as Medvedev this includes three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland.

World number 12, Fabio Fogini, who was the first Italian to win an ATP Masters 1000 title this year in Monte Carlo and highly-rated David Goffin (Belgium), the former world number 7 will also present in Diriyah.

The big-serving American John Isner, with over 10,000 aces on tour, and five-time ATP champion Lucas Pouille of France, an Australian Open semi-finalist this year complete the current line-up. Officials will name the final two players in the coming weeks.

Medvedev will go into tournament with confidence after a great year, in the past week missed out on closing rounds of the Nitto ATP World Tour Finals which also included another epic showdown with World Number One, Rafael Nadal in London.

He said: “It’s been a great year for me, especially the second half. The highlights were in Washington and then finishing in Shanghai and winning that title. With six titles and two of them Masters titles, it wasn’t something I expected if I’m honest with you.

The 23-year-old Russian also gave some insight into what it has taken to reach the top echelon of the men’s game, as he closes in on ‘The Big Three’; namely Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. 

“To be successful in tennis you need to fight hard and play with passion. You need to fight hard on every single point. Look back on the times it doesn’t go well and always try to improve and always get better. Self-reflection is important. That might sound a bit tough for the kids, but that’s what it takes to break through."

Tickets are now available at www.diriyahseason.sa with nine different ticket categories available to suit all budgets – the perfect event for groups of friends and families.

The Diriyah Tennis Cup is taking place at the 15,000-seater Diriyah Arena being purpose built at the ancient site of the Kingdom’s first capital, known as the home of kings and heroes. The tournament will happen just a week after the same venue plays host to the Clash On The Dunes, the world heavyweight title fight between Andy Ruiz Jr and Anthony Joshua OBE.