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AFP
June 29, 2018
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Ousted champs reach home

Sports

AFP
June 29, 2018

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FRANKFURT AM MAIN: Germany’s chastened national team arrived home Thursday after their shock World Cup exit plunged the football-mad nation into mourning and left the future of coach Joachim Loew in the balance.

The four-time champions landed at Frankfurt airport shortly after 3pm (1300 GMT), a day after their humiliating 2-0 defeat against South Korea at Russia’s Kazan Arena sent them packing in the first round.

In a mea culpa on their official Twitter account, the German Mannschaft apologised to a country in agony.

“Dear fans, we’re just as disappointed as you,” the tweet read.

“We’re sorry we didn’t play like world champions. That’s why we deserved to be eliminated, as bitter as it is.”

Defender Mats Hummels had earlier also tweeted out his regrets with a succinct “sorry...” and a crying-face emoji.

German media have given a damning verdict of the titleholders’ World Cup campaign, which will be remembered as the first time since 1938 that the country has failed to make it past the first round.

“No words!” chided the best-selling Bild daily, over a picture of a despondent-looking Toni Kroos.

The headline mirrors the one used four years ago after Germany’s stunning 7-1 victory over Brazil at the last World Cup — but this time the nation has been left speechless out of sheer disbelief.

Anger was mounting too after a weak performance in Russia that has left commentators calling for radical changes in German football.

“Our elimination is fully deserved,” Bild wrote, lamenting the “shame” of the defending champions getting knocked out after just 10 days, “reduced to ashes and rubble”.

Other newspapers, like the Rheinische Post and Berlin’s Tagesspiegel, simply went with the headline “Out”, while the Stuttgarter Zeitung spoke of a “historic debacle”.

Bild said head coach Loew’s fate would be decided “in the coming days” following talks with the German football federation (DFB).

After 12 years in charge, Loew is now under fire for placing too much faith in former stars past their prime.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung said only Loew’s departure could give Germany the “new start” it needed. “That the party ended before it really began is bearable — but only if German football strategists recognise the sign of the times and act accordingly,” the conservative daily wrote.

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