And just eight years after taking home a fourth world championship. And just eight years after taking home a fourth world championship. Simultaneous group games, with attention alternating between Al-Bayt and Khalifa stadiums in Qatar, made for a night of drama and agony.

Spain had to do Germany a favor, but the 2010 world champions lost to Japan and still advanced. Spain left the game at one point when Germany was losing to Costa Rica. Luis Enrique, the manager of Spain, claimed: “If I had known, I would have suffered a heart attack.”

Watching later, ambiguous replays regarding whether the ball went out before Japan scored their game-winning goal was even more agonizing for Germany. However, it was Japan’s defeat and Spain’s draw that led to Germany’s downfall in the end.

“We haven’t been able to live up to expectations at the tournaments in recent years,” said veteran forward Thomas Müller. “I would say as a team, we don’t really have specialists running around everywhere.”

The 2014 World Cup champion Joachim Loew oversaw the team’s elimination from the group stage at Russia 2018 and then their loss to England in the semifinals of Euro 2020 before being replaced by Hansi Flick. This is the next step that we will take and we will do that very soon. Right now, we need to evaluate our work at the World Cup and move in a different direction.

Germany could at least share the spotlight of suffering for heavyweights with Belgium, who were also defeated on Thursday. FIFA has consistently ranked Belgium as the best team in the world. “We played thinking if we lost a game we could be out,” manager Roberto Martinez said, “and that’s what cost us.” There will be a need for a revamp, just like in Germany.