Lothar Matthaeus plays in a exibition match in Red Square in central Moscow, Russia on Thursday. Photo: REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

MOSCOW - Defending champions Germany lacked personality and team spirit, contributing to their shock World Cup first-round exit, their former World Cup-winning captain Lothar Matthaeus said on Thursday.

Speaking at a soccer event on Moscow's Red Square, Matthaeus, who led Germany to the 1990 title, said everything that worked in their favour in 2014 when they won in Brazil had now gone against them. "First we missed the performance, and when you don't have the performance, you cannot expect results," Matthaeus said. "I think everybody made mistakes, from the coach to the players, many players didn't perform (with) good personality, and I think we missed team spirit."

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The Germans crashed out of the tournament on Wednesday after suffering a stunning 2-0 defeat by South Korea in their final Group F match, eliminating them in the opening round for the first time in 80 years. They also lost their opening group match 1-0 to Mexico before managing a last-gasp 2-1 win over Sweden.

"Everything that was good four years ago in Brazil was going badly in Russia," Matthaeus said. "For this, the team is now in the plane on the way to Germany and I think this is exactly the result they have to get after the three performances that they had here during the World Cup."

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