From World Cup embarrassment to the Nations League relegation, a brief timeline of Germany's disastrous 2018

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Traditionally speaking, Germany has been one of the most feared teams in international soccer. The skill, strength and organization are all huge factors in the country's incredible success that includes four World Cup titles and three Euro titles. 

But 2018 wasn't your normal year for Germany. Entering the FIFA World Cup in Russia, Joachim Low's squad was widely viewed as one of the heavy favorites to win it all, but the form dropped off and so did the results. 

It all started not long after the Confederations Cup and then when World Cup qualifying concluded. Germany won the Confederations Cup in Russia with a youthful squad that featured 14 players with 10 caps or less and only two players with over 10 caps. Without its big stars like Marco Reus, Thomas Muller and Manuel Neuer, the Germans ran through the competition to win the trophy, and then they dominated in qualifying, winning all 10 games against the likes of Northern Ireland, Czech Republic, Norway, Azerbaijan and San Marino. 

The team was at the top when it came to World Cup contenders. It was one of the favorites and had the second-best odds behind Brazil. Then it all went wrong. 

June 2, 2018: Germany lost to Austria 2-1 in its second-to-last friendly before the World Cup. Not really that big of a deal when it comes to the result, but it certainly wouldn't help chemistry. It felt like just an odd result with not much to take away from it. Germany only created four chances on goal in that game. A bump in the road and nothing more or a sign of things to come?

June 4, 2018: Low cuts his roster down to 23 for the World Cup. Leroy Sane of Manchester City, one of Germany's best young players and a menace on the wing, is the surprise exclusion. 

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Sane was dropped just before the tournament started. Getty Images

June 8, 2018: Germany played its last friendly before the tournament, beating fellow World Cup participant Saudi Arabia, 2-1. One could argue that Saudi Arabia was the weakest team at the World Cup, yet in the last friendly Germany needed an own goal to win the match. The Germans didn't enter the tournament with positive vibes, all erased with 180 minutes before heading to Russia and Sane's surprise cut. 

June 17, 2017: The team opened up the 2018 World Cup with a surprising 1-0 loss to Mexico, thanks to this goal from Hirving Lozano in the 35th minute.

It was one of those games where the ball just wouldn't go in. Germany had 26 shots and nine on frame, but Guillermo Ochoa made save after save to keep the Germans out. It was a match where Germany was a serious threat but the scoring boots were missing. 

June 23, 2018: Germany would win its only 2018 World Cup match, beating Sweden 2-1 on a miracle free-kick goal from Toni Kroos in the fifth minute of added time.

And that felt like the turning point. Surely this team would go on to beat South Korea, get to the knockout stage and then make at least a semifinal run, right?

Wrong. 

June 27, 2018: In a shocking upset, Germany lost 2-0 to South Korea to crash out of the group stage, making the first time ever that the country failed to advance from the opening group stage of a World Cup (There were two group stages at the 1978 World Cup, with Germany advancing from the first but losing in the second). 

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Germany was expected to make at least the semifinals of the 2018 World Cup but instead didn't get out of the group stage. Getty Images

July 22, 2018: Star midfielder Mesut Ozil announces retirement from the national team following some serious tension between the player, the federation and fans. The Arsenal player announced he was stepping away due to backlash received after a meeting with Turkish president Recep Erdogan.

Ozil's parents are from Turkey, and he was pictured with the president while he was in London before the World Cup. There, the team lost a player who has since regained his form and has been shining bright in the Premier League. 

Nov. 16, 2018: In the inaugural edition of the UEFA Nations League, Germany was relegated to League B after the Netherlands beat France, solidifying Germany's last-place spot in the group. Germany finished 0-2-2 in the competition, scoring just three goals in four games. 

As for what's next, the focus shifts to qualifying for Euro 2020, with qualifying beginning next year. Euro qualifying games can be streamed on fuboTV (Try for free). 

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CBS Sports Writer

Roger Gonzalez is an award-winning writer based in Virginia that has covered pro soccer from Europe's top clubs to Argentina's first division. Roger started out his pro soccer writing career with Goal.com... Full Bio

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