Germany falls short at the group stage merely a year post their Euros final glory
The World Cup has been a spectacle filled with stunners and unexpected twists.
Three out of the top 10 teams from the Fifa world rankings were eliminated in the group stages, while the reigning champions USA were a hair’s breadth away from sharing the same fate.
Germany, standing second in ranking, experienced their first group-stage elimination in their ninth tournament appearance.
Canada and Brazil, placed seventh and eighth respectively, have also met an early end to their World Cup quest. Italy, led by Milena Bertolini, is another big name that stumbled at the first hurdle, suffering group-stage losses for the first time.
In contrast, powerhouses like Colombia, South Africa, Jamaica, Morocco, and Nigeria are stepping up to fill their void.
“We observe this with USA, with Germany, and also with Brazil.
“Other nations are rapidly gaining ground now.”
Unexpected departures that took everyone by surprise
Germany, Canada, Brazil, and Italy all had their journey cut short in the group stages – a situation almost inconceivable before the tournament’s onset.
Germany, the two-time World Cup victors, commenced the tournament in high spirits with a 6-0 thrashing of Morocco and were widely expected to repeat their success.
However, a 2-1 upset against Colombia brought them back to reality, and their tournament standing was put at risk.
Germany’s final group match against South Korea concluded in a draw, despite an early score by Cho So-hyun for South Korea and a subsequent equalizer by German captain Alexandra Popp. The result was not enough, and Morocco advanced, leaving Germany behind.
Despite their recent European Championships final appearance, Germany was predicted to pose a serious challenge to the USA for the World Cup title. But in spite of Popp’s strong performance, Martina Voss-Tecklenburg’s team is packing up.
After qualifying for the World Cup’s last 16 in 2019, Canada emerged as Olympic champions two years later.
However, they were unable to survive the so-called ‘group of death’, featuring Australia, Nigeria, and Republic of Ireland. Predictions favored Australia and Canada, but Bev Priestman’s team couldn’t live up to the expectations and faced their first group-stage exit since 2011.
Several teams in the World Cup have been disrupted by internal conflicts with their federation regarding budget cuts and lack of competitive practice matches before the tournament.
Brazil’s quest for their first World Cup title continues
Marta’s final World Cup concluded in major disappointment as Brazil failed to advance to the last-16 stage.
They were considered as a potential dark horse to win the tournament after progressing from the group stages six consecutive times.
Despite a 4-0 triumph against Panama, Pia Sundhage’s team couldn’t sustain their form in subsequent matches, resulting in a loss to France and a goalless draw with Jamaica, thus, not making the cut.
Italy has now been eliminated from the World Cup at the group stage twice
After a 20-year hiatus, Italy returned to the World Cup in 2019, advancing to the knockout stages.
This year, Bertolini controversially excluded former captain Sara Gama from her squad and star forward Cristiana Girelli didn’t start any of the group matches. A 5-0 defeat by Sweden put Italy in a difficult position, and they were eventually eliminated by South Africa, who are ranked 54th globally.
Underdogs Making Headlines
Could 2023 be the year for an underdog team to disrupt the status quo?
So far, three teams outside the top 40 globally have made it to the last 16.
Morocco, ranked 72nd, advanced to the knockout stages, thereby eliminating two-time winners Germany.
They are set to face France, who defeated Morocco during their semi-final run in the men’s World Cup. Could Morocco’s women’s team rewrite history?
“Nothing short of incredible, this World Cup is filled with exhilarating matches. This is what sports is all about,” commented Morocco head coach Reynald Pedros.
South Africa, who lost all their matches in the 2019 group stages, have made it to the last 16 with their first-ever Women’s World Cup win over Italy.
Jamaica, too, held Brazil and France to goalless draws, knocking the South Americans out of the tournament.
Jamaica’s team, which had to resort to crowdfunding for their travel expenses due to insufficient funding from their federation, is one of the two teams that made it to the last 16 without conceding a goal.
Jamaica faces 25th-ranked Colombia, who created a ripple with a surprise 2-1 win over Germany, in the first knockout round.
Nigeria had a turbulent preparation phase for the tournament, with reports of players contemplating boycotts over payment and conditions. However, they exceeded expectations in a challenging Group B, qualifying for the last 16 for a consecutive World Cup.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about World Cup Upsets
Who were the top teams eliminated early in the tournament?
Germany, Canada, Brazil, and Italy were some of the top teams that were eliminated early in the tournament.
Which underdog teams have made significant progress in the tournament?
Underdog teams that have made significant progress in the tournament include Colombia, South Africa, Jamaica, Morocco, and Nigeria.
Which team had a surprising win over Germany?
Colombia had a surprising win over Germany, with a score of 2-1.
Why did Brazil fail to progress from the group stages?
Brazil failed to progress from the group stages due to a loss to France and a goalless draw with Jamaica.
What was notable about Italy’s performance in the tournament?
Italy had a disappointing performance in the tournament. They failed to progress from the group stages for the second time, despite making the knockout stages in 2019.
Which teams managed to progress to the last 16 without conceding a goal?
Jamaica was one of the teams that made it to the last 16 without conceding a goal. They held Brazil and France to goalless draws.
Which underdog teams are set to face each other in the first knockout round?
Jamaica is set to face 25th-ranked Colombia in the first knockout round.
Which team did South Africa beat to secure their passage to the next phase?
South Africa beat Italy 3-2, securing their passage to the last 16.