Germany forward Thomas Mueller said his country’s second successive first-round exit from the World Cup was an “absolute catastrophe”, which team-mate Kai Havertz likened to “watching a horror movie”.
After beating Germany 2-1 in its opener, Japan found its way into the round of 16 of the World Cup by defeating Spain by the same score in its last group game.
The Germans beat Costa Rica 4-2 but Spain slumped to a 2-1 defeat to Japan on Thursday that meant Germany finished third in Group E behind Spain, with the teams equal on four points and the positions decided only by goal difference.
“It is unbelievably bitter for us because our result would have been enough,” Mueller said.
“It’s a feeling of powerlessness.”
Mueller was part of the 2014 World Cup-winning team and was also in the side that was eliminated at the same stage four years ago in Russia.
Havertz said the fact Germany only discovered their fate Thursday when the result of the game between Japan and Spain was displayed on the stadium’s big screen made it even more difficult.
“When it happens this way, it feels like watching like a horror movie,” said Havertz, who scored two goals after coming off the bench.
“We learned during the match that Japan were leading, and then the group standings were displayed in the stadium. We still had a little hope that Spain would score.
“But then we noticed that the Japan match was over.”
Havertz blamed the team’s performance against Japan for their elimination and hinted that all was not well in German football.