Pride is sometimes all the motivation a team needs. Already facing elimination from the World Cup, South Korea played as if they were fighting for survival in a gritty match against a hapless German team that seemed to be playing against itself as much as it was against its adversary on the pitch. After regulation time had already expired, it proved to be a simple set-piece that enabled Korea to rip apart Germany’s defense and their World Cup aspirations.
Heung-Min Son sent the corner kick bouncing into Germany’s box to the feet of Hyun-Soo Jang. Jang could not control the ball, and Toni Kroos tried to play it back to Niklas Süle. But Kroos missed: the ball instead arrived at the feet of Korean center-back Young-Gwon Kim. Kim turned on it and fired into the empty net. Manuel Neuer could only look on helplessly.
Korea then added a second goal minutes later, as Heung-Min Son tapped the ball into an empty net after Neuer had joined Germany’s offense in a desperate attempt to claw back two goals deep into stoppage time.
Korea thus leaves the World Cup not last in Group F, but third, having humbled the German giants whom everyone expected to advance. Germany now must ask itself hard questions as they rebuild on the ruins of this failed World Cup campaign.