What a tournament: upset over upset! And one of them was Germany’s tie with South Korea, 1-1, a result that sent the team packing back to Deutschland—their first ever failure to leave the group stage. And although Colombia lost to Morocco, 1-0, the gutsy Colombians get to stay in. Sixteen teams remain in the knockout round, with fifteen total games left to give us a champion.
Germany will of course have known the math: A win was all that was required to ensure passage to the round of 16 of the Women’s World Cup. But Canada had known the math, too, and went out anyway. So did Brazil and New Zealand and Portugal, all gone for the want of a single precious goal that never came.
Yet a World Cup that has had some improbable moments — Jamaica eliminating Brazil, the U.S. team advancing thanks to a single, favorable bounce — got perhaps its biggest stunner so far on Thursday: Germany, the second-ranked team in the world, is out after the strangest finish to the group stage in its history, two games requiring only one win, and in which it got none.
South Korea, a team that was effectively eliminated before the match even kicked off, a team that had not scored a goal before in the tournament before Thursday, took an early lead and then held on for a tenacious, improbable, almost unthinkable 1-1 tie with Germany. That result was not good enough for the Germans only because Morocco, another unlikely contender, beat Colombia, 1-0, on Anissa Lahmari’s goal off a rebound from a saved penalty kick.
Here are the highlights of the Germany-South Korea game:
And here are the highlights of Morocco’s 1-0 victory over Colombia. Morocco scored after a failed penalty kick rebounded:
Here’s the upcoming schedule. With several of its toughest opponents out, the U.S., which plays Sweden on Sunday, has a fighting chance to win it all: