Germany crashes out of Women’s World Cup as Morocco reaches knockout stage in tournament debut

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Germany finished third in the group after losing their last two matches.


Two-time world champion Germany crashed out of this year Women’s World Cup after drawing 1-1 with South Korea on Thursday.

The Germans were among the favorites to win the title before the tournament got underway and knew victory in its final Group H match would all but guarantee qualification for the knockout stages.

However, expectations of a routine victory for Germany quickly faded as Cho So-hyun gave South Korea a surprise early lead.

Germany’s star forward Alexandra Popp equalized moments before the break but her side failed to score the all-important winner against South Korea to finish third in the group.

Pain for Germany meant joy for Moroccowho, in their first World Cup appearance, reached the knockout stage with a surprise 1-0 win against Colombia.

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Alexandra Popp scored once for Germany but couldn’t find the winner.

It is the first time that Germany, number two in the world, have failed to reach at least the quarter-finals at the Women’s World Cup.

The players looked stunned at full-time with captain Popp, who was named player of the match, almost in tears.

Germany midfielder Lena Oberdorf told a crowd of reporters after the match that it was “one of the saddest moments of my life”, reflecting the sentiment of many in the squad.

Popp had come so close to finding a winning goal for his country, going close with two headers and seeing a goal ruled out for offside.

“We are very disappointed. It is very, very difficult for me to analyze this match,” the German striker told reporters after the match. “It is difficult to say (what was missing). We needed one more goal but we didn’t find it.

South Korea, who knew they needed a big win to have any chance of progression, were worthy of a draw after working tirelessly to keep their opponent out.

Three countries ranked in the top 10 have now been eliminated before the knockout stage as Germany make an early exit along with Canada and Brazil.

While Germany struggled in Brisbane, it was a completely different story in Perth, where Morocco staged a stunning result.

The African team is making its tournament debut and was beaten 6-0 by Germany in its first match before securing its first ever World Cup win against South Korea.

That Lionesses of Atlas knew they needed to improve on Germany’s result on Thursday to qualify from the group and pressed on when Anissa Lahmari gave her side the lead just before half-time.

The goal came after Ghizlane Chebbak saw his penalty saved by Colombia’s goalkeeper, only for the ball to rebound and be bundled over the line by Lahmari.

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Moroccan players celebrate reaching the last 16 of the Women’s World Cup.

Morocco then defended for its life, praying that Germany would not find a winner against South Korea.

The celebrations at the full-time whistle were temporarily put on hold as the Moroccan team huddled around mobile phones waiting for news from the match in Germany.

As news filtered through of the Germans’ draw, the celebrations started again with players crying tears of joy on the pitch.

Morocco’s qualification marks the first time three African nations have reached the last 16 of a Women’s World Cup in the competition’s history, a remarkable achievement for the continent at football’s biggest tournament.

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