Reigning champions Germany were one of the favourites to triumph in Russia but they finished bottom of Group F after a miserable campaign.
Joachim Low’s team suffered a 1-0 defeat to Mexico in their opener, before keeping their World Cup hopes alive with a dramatic 2-1 victory over Sweden.
Needing another win in their final game against South Korea to reach the knockout stages, Germany were beaten 2-0 after the Koreans scored two injury-time goals.
Speaking for the first time since Germany’s historic exit from the World Cup, Arsenal star Ozil said he was ‘hurt’. ‘Having to leave the World Cup already after the group stage hurts so much,’ he said.
‘We just weren’t good enough. I’ll need some time to get over it.’ Germany boss Low, meanwhile, admits Ozil was one of a number of his players that under-performed in Russia. ‘Because of a number of bans and injuries, we had to make changes,’ said Low.
‘In 2014 and 2017 that was also the case, it happens. ‘A team only begins to gel later at the tournament, so it makes sense to bring some [players] in and let it go easy on them.
‘It wasn’t only Ozil, a number of other players didn’t perform as they normally would. I take responsibility for that and stand up for that, but I thought it was a good team.