Joshua Kimmich called Germany’s humiliating World Cup exit the worst moment of his career as Japan and Spain progressed from Thursday’s dramatic Group E final.
Germany started their last match against Costa Rica knowing that a win would likely take them to the round of 16 if Japan couldn’t beat Spain, and Hansi Flick’s men kept their end of the bargain with a 4-2 win.
However, Ritsu Doan and Ao Tanaka scored goals as Japan staged a remarkable comeback to beat La Roja, securing them surprise group victories and ending Germany’s bid for a fifth World Cup triumph.
Germany have now failed to progress beyond the group stage in consecutive World Cups after having done so in each of their previous 16 matches in the tournament, leaving Kimmich devastated.
“For me personally, this is the worst day of my career. I’m afraid to fall into a hole,” Kimmich told reporters. “It makes you think that these failures are related to my person.
“This is definitely the hardest day of my career for me. The second time we flew out at the World Championships, between them we had the Euro, where we flew out ahead of schedule.
“It’s bittersweet and a lot of opportunities have been missed in the past four years.”
2 – Germany have failed to make it past the group stage in each of the last two World Cups after having made it through the first round in each of the previous 16 tournaments since 1954. AufWiedersehen. #CRCGER #Soccer World Cup pic.twitter.com/9yQiJD71zg
— OptaFranz (@OptaFranz) December 1, 2022
Germany reached the semi-finals of Kimmich’s first major tournament at Euro 2016, but they have since fallen off the first hurdle at two World Cups and were defeated by England in the round of 16 at Euro 2020.
Costa Rica briefly took the lead when Manuel Neuer scored an own goal with 20 minutes left on Thursday and Germany went 12 major tournament games without a single result (World Cup/Euro) – their longest streak ever.
Kimmich’s fellow midfielder Ilkay Gündogan lashed out at the Die Nationalmannschaft defense, urging his teammates to reflect on their shortcomings.
“We concede goals too easily, lose balls too easily and miss goalscoring opportunities too easily,” Gundogan said.
“Of course, we, as Germany, must have different aspirations, so we must take a closer look at ourselves.
“We just couldn’t do our best as a group or maybe individually. We have to wonder what the reasons were and everyone should look in the mirror and tell themselves it wasn’t enough.”
Its end. Came out
— Germany (@DFB_Team_EN) December 1, 2022