Defending champions Germany have been eliminated from the World Cup at the group stage following defeat by South Korea, in one of the biggest shocks in the competition's history.

From BBC.com

I would lile to know how to understand this sentence correctly? Which is the shock and why to use a preposition 'in one of... '

2 Answers 2


Defending champions Germany have been eliminated from the World Cup at the group stage following defeat by South Korea, in one of the biggest shocks in the competition's history.

First, it's important to note that this is a news headline written in a journalistic style.

This is not how a native speaker might normally construct a standard English sentence. News headlines often remove or rearrange words to squeeze more information into a small space.

The following version adds some of the implied/elided words back in:

[The] defending [World Cup] champions, Germany, have been eliminated from the [current] World Cup [during] the [first] stage [of the tournament], following ['a', or 'their'] defeat by South Korea. [Germany's early elimination from the tournament] is one of the biggest [unexpected outcomes] in the competition's history.

The "shock" refers to Germany's early defeat. As defending champions, it is surprising that they have been eliminated so early in the tournament. The expectation was for the defending champions to last longer.

"In one of the [noun]..." indicates that there are multiple such [nouns] in the history of the World Cup, and this is a single example. There have been other "shocks" or surprises in past World Cups, but this (to the author or fans, at least) stands out among them as "one of" the most significant.

Is the use of the preposition "in" what's confusing? This use of "in" (often said by a 3rd person) explains or characterizes some event:

"In defeat, he found renewed courage"

"In a shocking turn of events, the man blurted out his guilt in front of the entire courtroom."

  • What a brilliant answer! Thanks a lot. However, I have a bit of confusion about the use of preposition 'in'. If this sentence were written by myself, I would replace 'in' to 'which is'.Is this way correct for this sentence. Like you said, 'in' can be used by a 3rd person, but your examples, in my humble opinion, are more like a normal sentence than the intentionally use of 'in', such as in defeat, it may mean during defeat, when we delete in, it then can't be a normal sentence.
    – Young
    Jun 28, 2018 at 9:19
  • @Young - If you're referring to "in" in the original, you could say "...defeat by South Korea, which was one of the biggest shocks ..." ... But this is 1) longer (bad for a headline), and 2) a less "active" explanation of the event. You could not say "which is ..." because the verb tense would be inconsistent - the rest of the sentence is all past tense. Correct - you need the "in" in my examples. I chose them specifically to illustrate that this is a common construction to explain or characterize an event. They are "normal sentences." Sorry, I'm not sure how to better explain it.
    – mc01
    Jun 28, 2018 at 16:40
  • Thank you for help. Does this 'in' here have any specific meaning or tone which we can replace it with any other adverbs or adjectives, because I can't feel or understand the meaning?
    – Young
    Jun 28, 2018 at 17:14
  • I wouldn't say it has any special tone or unusual meaning. It's just the preposition used before describing/explaining/characterizing a specific situation. "In this case," I can try to explain "in dramatic fashion" with more examples, but "in the interest of time", I should stop. "In the event this was helpful to you," please let me know.
    – mc01
    Jun 28, 2018 at 17:34
  • Let us continue this discussion in chat.
    – Young
    Jun 28, 2018 at 19:30

Germany have not been it been knocked out of the FIFA World Cup in the group stages since 1938. Not only are they the previous champions but have consistently make it past the group stages of the World Cup for decades.

This is a result that is highly unexpected an is the shock refered to in the news report.

There have been other shocks in World Cuo history the defeat of Germany and their departure is on "one of" those shocks.

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