Germany failed to reach the knockout stage for the first time at the Women’s World Cup after being held to a 1-1 draw against South Korea on Thursday.
Morocco’s 1-0 win over Colombia meant Germany needed a win to advance. Led by captain Alexandra Popp, Germany created numerous scoring opportunities but could not find the winner. Colombia topped Group H and Morocco took second place, both with six points. Germany finished with four.
South Korea struck early in the sixth minute when a defence-splitting pass from Lee Youngju found Cho Sohyun, who produced a calm finish.
In the 42nd minute, Popp equalized for Germany with a towering header off a cross from Svenja Huth.
Germany chased the winning goal throughout the second half. The Germans had a would-be winning goal from Popp overturned by VAR in the 57th minute. Just a few minutes later, Popp came close to scoring with another header but was denied by the crossbar.
Germany’s final scoring opportunities came in the 11th and 12th minutes of stoppage when two shots from Sydney Lohmann missed wide and high.
Germany, the second-ranked team in the world, failed to advance from the group stage for the first time in nine appearances in the Women’s World Cup.
South Korea finished in last place in the group with one point but can feel good about holding the two-time champions to a draw.
Morocco stuns Colombia
Meanwhile, Morocco beat Colombia 1-0 to make it to the knockout round, creating yet more history in a dramatic conclusion to the group stage of the 2023 tournament.
Morocco is the first Arab or North African nation to go beyond the group stage at the Women’s World Cup, and the only one of eight tournament newcomers to advance.
Morocco’s winning goal came in first-half stoppage time, when Anissa Lahmari put back a penalty-save rebound.
The win meant Morocco qualifies in second place in the group, behind Colombia, and knocked two-time champion Germany out of the tournament. No. 2-ranked Germany needed a win over South Korea in a game being played simultaneously in Brisbane, but was held to a 1-1 draw.
The Moroccan players and coaching staff gathered on the pitch after fulltime in Perth to watch the end of the Germany-South Korea game in Brisbane, which still potentially had a hand in their World Cup fate.
“We had the phone and we started praying. We were praying while we were watching the game,” midfielder Anissa Lahmari said. “Afterwards it was just a complete explosion of joy.”
If Morocco’s qualification for the Women’s World Cup inspired a generation, this run to the knockout stage will cement a legacy for the Atlas Lionesses.
The Moroccans were trounced 6-0 by Germany in their debut game in the tournament, but bounced back with consecutive wins,.
The win over South Korea on the weekend was historic for the team, for Ibtissam Jraidi scoring the Atlas Lionesses’ first World Cup goal, and for another significant milestone — defender Nouhaila Benzina became the first player to wear a Hijab in a World Cup game at the senior level.
The game against Colombia was an even contest right through the first half until Jraidi was fouled in the penalty area in the dying seconds before the break. Ghizlane Chebbak’s penalty attempt was saved, but Lahmari swooped on the rebound to put her team ahead of Colombia — and, just as importantly, the Germany team playing on the other side of the country.
Colombia had its best scoring chance in the 59th minute, when its 18-year-old superstar, Linda Caicedo, served a ball to the far post, which Daniela Montoya one-timed to the left of goalkeeper Khadija Er-Rmichi. The Moroccan ‘keeper made a reflex kick save, blocking the ball with just the front edge of her right cleat.
In the 69th, Caicedo, after a long run, stopped and leaned on the field barrier, reaching down to her left ankle and foot. She appeared hobbled for several minutes but stayed in the match.