KAZAN, Russia (Reuters) - Germany’s Mats Hummels said the late miss that might have sent his team through to the last 16 of the World Cup would “haunt” him after the defending champions bowed out of the tournament at the group stage on Wednesday.
The central defender had the chance to break the deadlock in the 87th minute of Germany’s final Group F match against South Korea when Mesut Ozil swung a cross into the penalty area.
Instead of powering the ball into the net with his head, though, Hummels caught it with his shoulder and it went behind for a goal kick.
South Korea went on to win 2-0 with two stoppage-time goals and Germany will go home without getting through the group stage of the World Cup for the first time.
“I had a big chance, I had to score this one,” Hummels told reporters.
“This chance will haunt me for a few weeks I guess. I hit my own shoulder with the header, so maybe I wasn’t in the right position and maybe I wanted to put too much pressure on the ball.”
Hummels, who played in his country’s 1-0 opening loss to Mexico but missed the last-gasp victory over Sweden with a neck injury, was not prepared to accept all the blame for Germany’s failure to beat the Koreans, though.
“We had enough chances to score,” he added. “There were three or four big chances we had in the game. We didn’t score in this game and in the Mexico game and this is not good enough.”
The 29-year-old, who was an integral part of the team who won the last World Cup in Brazil, said he was at a loss to explain what had gone wrong with Germany’s campaign.
“Of course we are extremely disappointed in ourselves and the result and the World Cup we played. We had high expectations for ourselves but I don’t think we could fulfil them in any of the three games,” he said.
“There was no game where we could you say we played the style we used to play and we expect to play. We have to be disappointed in ourselves after such a tournament.
“I can’t really explain what we did wrong. I don’t know exactly why we didn’t manage to play the way we want to play.”
Additional reporting by Michael Church, editing by Julien Pretot