Toni Kroos Germany South Korea
Toni Kroos reacts after Germany are knocked out of the Fifa World Cup 2018Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Watching Germany play against South Korea, you sometimes felt one of those never-used buttons might have been hit on the remote, putting the video into slow motion – such was the speed, or lack of it, of the German attacks.

Considering they needed a win against South Korea to make sure they would go through to the knockout rounds of the Fifa World Cup 2018, you would have expected Germany to come out all guns blazing, blowing South Korea away in the first 15 minutes and pretty much ending the contest.

However, the result was a slow, laboured Germany performance, with the team failing to show anything resembling intensity.

Joachim Low is definitely to blame, for not preparing this Germany side enough, but the blame also lies with the players, who had all the experience in the world, but little to no gumption, that extra something that separates the winners from the losers.

It is surprising, considering Germany had that and more four years ago, but maybe all of that gumption, leadership and spirit came from Philipp Lahm, Per Mertesacker and Bastian Schweinsteiger.

This match needed Toni Kroos stepping up one more time, not resting on his goalscoring laurels against Sweden.

This game needed Mesut Ozil returning and showing everyone why he never should have been dropped.

This match needed Thomas Muller, coming on and turning on the goalscoring style.

This game needed Mats Hummels leading from the front, from the back, and not looking like a deer caught in headlights when the opportunity to become the hero came his way.

This match needed Manuel Neuer standing tall as the goalkeeper, not playing striker, like he might on a PS4.

This game needed Germany showing why they are the world champions, one of the best teams in the world and well on their way to clinching a second consecutive World Cup title, not one playing in the World Cup for the first time.

What we got was a Germany side struggling to stay afloat, bowing to the pressure and, deservedly, making their earliest exit in a World Cup, ever.

It is easy to blame players and pick out individuals after such a dire performance, but you do wonder what on earth Kroos was thinking for that first South Korea goal. With the corner looking fairly harmless, Kroos decided to make it interesting, prodding the ball towards the traffic, with the ball eventually finding its way to a South Korean player.

That goal, with the match already into stoppage time, meant Germany needed two to progress into the second round, which was never going to happen.

Kroos was at fault for the goal that put Sweden ahead in the first game as well, with everything forgiven after he scored a stunning winner. But when you wanted leaders to step up and inspire, you found most of them hiding or buckling under the pressure.

And that is certainly not what champions are made of.