Popp: ‘I can’t comprehend’ Germany’s World Cup exit
Some players fell to their knees in tears when the whistle blew in Brisbane, confirming Germany would leave the Women’s World Cup 17 days before the final. Others stared, drifting ghost-like across the pitch barely taking it all in.
After the 1-1 draw with South Korea that confirmed their World Cup dreams were over, captain Alexandra Popp said: “I can’t comprehend it.”.
In disbelief, she puffed out her cheeks and said: “I don’t know what to say. I don’t even understand what happened.”
There is something strange about it that Germany isn’t used to.
Having won two Women’s World Cups and finished first in eight of the nine contests, they are two-time world champions.
A group consisting of Colombia, Morocco, and South Korea is not a group that most expected the Euro 2022 finalists to progress from.
BBC Two quoted former England midfielder Fara Williams as saying, “It’s the biggest shock in women’s football.”
“This entire tournament has been chaotic. It’s been turned on its head,” ex-Lions goalkeeper Karen Bardsley said.
Having Germany’s men’s and women’s teams fail to progress at major tournaments in the space of nine months is unimaginable.
In terms of sport, it’s hard to argue against a disaster,” said Germany manager Martina Voss-Tecklenburg.
“We are going to rise again and not give up. This is our passion. Of course, you can’t expect a deep analysis right now. We need time to let it sink in. I don’t want to look for excuses.”
Following disappointments for South American giants Brazil and Olympic champions Canada, Germany became the third team in the world’s top 10 to exit the group stages.
The team began the tournament with an easy 6-0 win over Morocco, setting the stage for progress until an unexpected 2-1 loss to Colombia raised some alarms.
“I didn’t have to be the clown for them to cheer them up,” Voss-Tecklenburg said afterwards, denying that Germany’s confidence had been shaken.
Nevertheless, a poor start against South Korea, which Cho So-hyun took advantage of by scoring inside six minutes, and missed opportunities from Popp, Klara Buhl, and Sydney Lohmann cost Germany the game.
Despite some questionable omissions in tonight’s starting XI, Bardsley believes it came down to clinical finishing.
Germany were sloppy in possession; they were trying to get the ball to the back post or to Popp. They didn’t have much of a plan B.”