Silence over Germany as World Cup title dream ends

Silence over Germany as World Cup title dream ends

German fans react after watching the World Cup soccer match between Germany and Spain taking place in South Africa, at a public viewing area in Munich, southern Germany, on Wednesday .AP Photo

Millions of Germans watched in disbelief as their team, so far the toast of the South African tournament, was comprehensively outplayed by the Iberians as in the Euro 2008 final and with the same 1-0 score.

"It feels like a funeral. It's so sad, my heart is aching," said Lucia Perschke, a 35-year-old Germany supporter who watched the semi-final with friends at a World Cup party in Berlin.

In Hamburg, there was almost total silence as fans walked and cycled home in dismay.
A lonely vuvuzela howled through the warm night, a girl on a bicycle was overheard saying into her mobile phone "Spain are just the best team in the world" and at least one seven-year-old girl was still sobbing an hour after the final whistle in Durban.

The post-game atmosphere was in complete contrast to the pre-game buzz.
Just one hour before kickoff it appeared as if the whole nation was on the move, anticipating another great show from Bastian Schweinsteiger and company after their 4-1 triumph over England and a 4-0 demolition of Lionel Messi's Argentina.

The Fanfests were packed to capacity, with 350,000 alone in Berlin, and the mood began cheerful, but soon turned glum as Spain began to stamp its authority on the match against the young German squad.

Cries of "oooh" and "aahh" echoed among the fans when Spain defender Carles Puyol headed home the winner in the 73rd minute to give Spain a berth in Sunday's final against the Netherlands.

"That crazy octopus was right. Calamares for everyone," yelled a customer at a Greek restaurant in Frankfurt, referring to the psychic octopus Paul, who predicted a win for the Spaniards.

The mood was different in the Spanish quarter of Hanover, where cries of "Viva Espana" echoed across the streets.

Some remained defiant with the odd "Germany" shout, but overall you could hear a pin drop, so harsh was the fall.

Instead of an all-out celebration, the monotonous voice of former midfield star Guenter Netzer echoed across the silent streets from bars, restaurants and homes as he analysed the defeat on ARD television.

"It is over," screamed the website of the Bild daily, with the third-place match Saturday, as in 2006 and this time around against Uruguay, was no consolation.

"It is all over, it breaks the hearts of the fans," Bild went on. "The tears are flowing at Fanfests across the country. But as harsh as it may sound, it was a deserved defeat."
Der Spiegel news magazine said in reference to the young team of coach Joachim Loew which had won so many hearts: "Overpowering Spain end the dream of Jogi's Boys."

While most people simply went home in silence, some also turned their frustration into anger, with ARD reporting some scuffles with the police at the Berlin Fanfest.

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