Sometimes in elite-level sport, a millimeter can make the difference between failure and success. Yesterday's World Cup games in group E proved this in painful and glorious fashion for Germany and Japan, respectively.
Japan's winning goal against Spain, which meant World Cup giants Germany crashed out at the group stage for the second time running (despite a spirited win against Costa Rica), was so very close to being ruled out for the ball crossing the byline in the build-up. Alas, for the Germans, the goal stood, leaving Hansi Flick's side facing very tough questions about their present state as well as their future.
In what will likely prove little consolation to a proud and passionate footballing nation, Germany are far from the only former champions to have crashed out at a World Cup group stage. As this infographic shows, even when only going as far back as 2002, there are numerous examples of footballing giants falling at the first hurdle in the sport's most illustrious competition.
France have arguably had the most spectacular shock exits in recent memory. In 2002, ranked number one in the world and reigning champions, they only mustered one point; finishing last in a group they at least on paper should have easily topped. They somehow managed to repeat this feat in 2010, when a combination of player strikes, fights and resignations left the world number nine team rock bottom behind even 83rd ranked South Africa.