On today's episode of the World Cup Daily Podcast, we revisit the wild games in Group F, touch on Germany being the latest reigning World Cup champion to bow out of the tournament early after a series of disappointing results and discuss Mexico's appreciation for South Korea's performance.
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Here's a selection of episode 14, which can be listened to in its entirety in the podcast console above:
GRANT WAHL: One of the other champions of pedigree, the defending champion ...
BRIAN STRAUS: Speaking of pedigree!
GW: ... Germany is out in the group stage for the first time ever for Germany. But the fourth time in the last five occasions that the defending World Cup champion goes out in the group stage. What happened to Germany, Brian?
BS: I don't know. That's fascinating, right? Because both of those statistics are true, right? And yet, for some reason, I would have put—I had Germany going to the final—everything on the fact that all of the complacency and arrogance and laziness and, what's the word? Inertia, that's the best word I can think of. All the inertia that has hit reigning champions in the past. France losing to Senegal. Spain going out after only two games in 2014. Italy going out in the group stage in 2010. All of that inertia, you just thought Germany was above that. You just thought there's something different about the ultimate tournament team that had turned over a significant amount of its roster from 2014. That they were somehow above it better and than that and they weren't. They were not better than that. They were not even better than South Korea. It's remarkable.
GW: Yeah, absolutely crazy. In all three of their group games, Germany needed a goal late. And I kept waiting for it as if it were inevitable against Mexico and it didn't come. It did come against Sweden and then you're kind of like, OK, they had their blip and they'll move forward. And then they couldn't score today. And good performance by South Korea. Good performance by the South Korean goalkeeper, Cho, who is my new favorite player. And South Korea gets the right call, I thought, on VAR. Mark Geiger involved, the American ref. Gets the late goal and then gets an insurance goal with Manuel Neuer way upfield.
BS: They pulled the goalie.
GW: They pulled the goalie. And Son gets it for 2-0 and Germany is out. And not only that, they're last place in the group. Mexico gets a favor from South Korea. Despite losing 3-0 to Sweden today. Very similar to 2002, when the U.S. ...
BS: Exactly what I was thinking of.
GW: ... got a favor from South Korea, losing 3-1 in its last group game. South Korea under Guus Hiddink scores a late winner with Park Ji-sung. I actually told my story to Guus today in the Fox trailer. I said I once asked Park Ji-sung, "Park, do you know why so many American soccer fans love you?" And he had no idea. But he was the guy whose goal saved the U.S. in World Cup 2002 and now Mexico will want to emulate that American team from 2002 that went on to beat Mexico in the round of 16 and go to the quarterfinals.
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