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World Cup: Morocco through as Germany crash out

August 3, 2023

Germany's World Cup campaign has come to a premature end after they could only draw with South Korea. Morocco's shock win over Colombia in the group's other game saw the North Africans progress instead.

Germany's Alexandra Popp
Germany's Alexandra PoppImage: DAN PELED/REUTERS

Morocco have become the third African team to reach the knockout stage of the World Cup, qualifying from Group H at the expense of Germany, who have been knocked out in the group stage for the first time.

In a dramatic final round of games in Group H, a shock 1-0 win over Colombia in Perth saw the Atlas Lions join Nigeria and South Africa in the last-16, while Germany could only manage a 1-1 draw with South Korea in Brisbane and crashed out.

Morocco were clear underdogs against group leaders Colombia and teenage superstar Linda Caicedo, but prevailed thanks to Anissa Lahmari who scored in first-half injury time, following up in the six-yard-box after teammate Ghizlane Chebbak had initially seen her penalty saved.

After a 6-0 thrashing by Germany in their opening game, Morocco's qualification represents a significant turnaround, which began with a 1-0 win over South Korea in their second game.

And after the country's men took the 2022 World Cup by storm, reaching the semfinal in Qatar, the women’s progress in Australia continues the footballing revolution in Rabat.

For Germany, however, the adventure Down Under has come to a premature end.

Morocco's Ibtissam Jraidi celebrates after Anissa Lahmari scores their first goal
Morocco's Ibtissam Jraidi celebrates after Anissa Lahmari scores their first goalImage: REUTERS

Germany crash out

Martina Voss-Tecklenburg's team were shocked early on by a South Korean team which came flying out of the blocks, hitting the post after just three minutes through Casey Phair and then taking the lead three minutes after that through So-Hyun Cho, played onside by Kathrin Hendrich.

"Werdet mal wach!" — "wake up!" — screamed captain Alexandra Popp, and she led the way herself, heading Germany level just before halftime, a familiar recipe. But after Morocco took the lead in Perth, Germany needed all three points but again could only turn to Popp.

The 32-year-old had the ball in the net just before the hour mark but was rightly flagged offside. Moments later, she saw a header crash back off the bar. Fifteen minutes after that, another header was well held by Jung-Mi Kim in the South Korean goal.

But time was up, just as it was for Germany's men in Russia in 2018, and again in Qatar in 2022, and just as it was for the men’s under-21 side at the European Championships last month, failing also to qualify for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

German football has big questions to answer ahead of the men's European Championship in Germany in 2024.