BERLIN (Reuters) - German fans were left shocked and dismayed after the national team were eliminated in the opening round of the World Cup for the first time in 80 years.
Top selling daily Bild splashed “OUT!” across its website after the defending champions’ 2-0 defeat by South Korea, calling it a nightmare but adding “We didn’t deserve any better”.
“The biggest disgrace in German World Cup History. The 0:2 loss is the embarrassing end to a catastrophic group phase,” it wrote on its website.
Chancellor Angela Merkel, who often attends national team games, expressed her disappointment at an event on artificial intelligence in Berlin.
When the robot Sophia said Germany’s team remained one of the best in the world, Merkel said, “That’s true, if you take a long view. But this evening we’re all very sad.”
In West Berlin, along the swanky shopping avenue Kurfuerstendamm normally filled with cheering fans and honking cars, the mood was eerily silent. Glum-faced fans in Germany shirts moved slowly and quietly away from cafes and bars.
Tens of thousands of German supporters who had gathered to view the game at the Brandenburg Gate stood stunned after the South Korea loss, some moved to tears.
“It didn’t go well from the start. The first game wasn’t great, the second game wasn’t great and we shouldn’t even talk about today,” said Robert Koeschinger, one emotional fan.
“We deserved to lose. Something definitely has to change now.”
Another tearful fan, Janin Roethig added: “The team just didn’t even fight. It was a terrible game.”
Coach Joachim Loew told broadcaster ZDF it was too soon to answer a question about his future as the national trainer.
“I’m terribly disappointed,” Loew said. “I need a few hours to digest it.”
Die Welt newspaper dismissed the team’s performance as “disgraceful.” “Tame, lacking in ideas and passion - the team deservedly lost against South Korea,” it said.
Germany’s only win in Russia was against Sweden last Saturday in Sochi - thanks to a stoppage-time goal from Toni Kroos.
“‘The miracle of Sochi’ was not repeated today,” the German interior ministry tweeted. “Out in the group stage. The sports ministry is as sad as you all are.”
Felix Kroos, brother of midfielder Toni, tweeted, “That’s sport. Heads high for all those who truly cheered on.”
German comedian Jan Boehmermann offered hope for the future.
“Chin up. In the next World Cup, Germany will form a joint European team with Italy, France, Portugal, the Netherlands, Poland, Denmark, Sweden, Croatia and Spain, and will be world champion every time thereafter,” he said on Twitter.
Reporting by Reuters TV, Victoria Bryan, Madeline Chambers and Andreas Rinke; Writing by Andrea Shalal, editing by Ed Osmond and Pritha Sarkar