World Cup: Elated Germans celebrate, Argentines tend broken hearts

In Germany people celebrated in the streets by lighting fireworks, embracing strangers, honking car horns and revelling in their first World Cup win in 24 years.

Crowds whooped as they watched Chancellor Angela Merkel embrace each German player after match

Jubilant Germans celebrated in the streets around the world on Sunday night, lighting fireworks, embracing strangers, honking car horns and revelling in their first World Cup win in 24 years.

Roars of delight soared from Berlin's massive fan zone, stretching 1.3 kilometres from the Brandenburg Gate, where 300,000 fans had braved torrential downpours and thunder storms to endure an agonizing 113 goal-less minutes before a Mario Goetze volley gave Germany a fourth World Cup crown.

"This is such an awesome feeling. I'm overwhelmed. The team kept us waiting for that goal, but we won in the end and that's what matters," said 23-year-old Marcus Angrick from Bernau, outside Berlin.

"This team is so good, we won't have to wait another 24 years to win again."

Thousands of fans streamed down West Berlin's famous Kurfuerstendamm, waving flags and umbrellas after watching Germany become the first European team to lift the World Cup on South American soil.

On neighbouring streets, cars revved loudly and honked horns, while girls in wigs with Germany colours and flags hung out of windows and rode on car roofs.

Others climbed lamp posts, toasting Germany's victory with beers and chanting, "Germany, Champions, Hallelujah!"

"1954, 1974, 1990 and 2014 — we fought hard for our fourth win and it was totally deserved. Congratulations," tweeted Angela Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert, referring to Germany's four World Cup titles. He had travelled with the chancellor to Rio de Janeiro for the final. 

German soldiers serving in the NATO-led peacekeeping mission in Kosovo celebrate their team's World Cup victory against Argentina. (Visar Kryeziu/Associated Press)

Crowds whooped with delight as they watched Merkel, nicknamed "Mutti" or 'mummy' in Germany, embrace each German player after the match.

"Yes, yes yes!!! Jogi you did it!! Huge compliment to Argentina but the best team won the 2014 World Cup!" tweeted U.S. coach Juergen Klinsmann.

Klinsmann was Germany's manager during the 2006 World Cup, when current manager Joachim Loew, affectionately known as 'Jogi' in Germany, was his assistant. 

"I'm really delighted," said 49-year-old Berlin nurse Simone Sieg, grinning because her name means 'victory' in Germany.

"I remember the last time Germany won the World Cup in 1990. I was watching at home in East Berlin. Germany hadn't even been reunited then.

"So much has changed about how we celebrate - it is wonderful."

Football and the success of the national team since the World Cup Germany hosted in 2006, is credited with allowing Germans to take pride in their nation and wave flags and paint their faces with unprecedented ease.

Previously Germans had been highly uncomfortable at any display of nationalism because of the country's history.

"It was an anxious game. I was trembling and shaking," German President Joachim Gauck, who had also travelled to Rio, told German television.

"But now I'm thrilled," he added.

Brazil celebrates Argentina loss

As Germany fired home their World Cup winning goal, the Maracana erupted. Thousands broke into song, but the chant that echoed around the stadium was in Portuguese - not German.

The host nation was celebrating that rivals Argentina would not be lifting sport's most prized trophy. Usually winning is everything, but on this occasion watching your neighbours lose was almost as good.

This was all the stranger given Germany had crushed the Brazilian dream of winning on home soil just days earlier in a 7-1 drubbing that spun South America's largest nation into a melancholy of soul searching.

But the rivalry with Argentina runs deeper. 

"Germany have brought great happiness to the Brazilian people," said Pedro Cozzolimo, 27, a lawyer from Rio de Janeiro. He was dressed in the black and red kit Germany wore in the semi-final against Brazil. "Thank you Germany," he shouted.

Another Brazilian was shown on the big screen inside the stadium kissing the crest on his Flamengo shirt - which also play in black and red.

It had almost been so different

About 100,000 Argentines had arrived in Rio for the final, many driving the thousand-odd miles without a ticket or a place to stay.

Some camped on Copacabana beach, others were allowed to pitch tents or sleep in their vans in Rio's Sambodromo, where the city's carnival procession is held.

Brazilians, already knocked out, found it hard to stomach the invasion of bragging Argentine fans.

Argentines hoped to hoist the World Cup trophy in the land of their bitter soccer rivals, Brazil. (Marcos Brindicci/Reuters)

On the metro to the stadium, hundreds of Argentines made the carriage bounce. "We have occupied Rio, the Brazilians got cold feet," they chanted — taunting their hosts. A small, quiet group of Germans huddled in the corner and the Brazilians were silent too.

Argentina's confidence off the pitch, however, was matched by Germany's skill and composure on it. For many it will be a long drive back to Buenos Aires.

Commentators who like to speculate whether the Brazilian sense of relief will have a lasting impact after the World Cup should be mindful, however. As President Dilma Rousseff presented the trophy to Germany's captain Philipp Lahm boos rained down from the stands around.

But for most Brazilians it was far better than Rousseff passing the trophy to Argentina's Lionel Messi. That would have been almost unthinkable.

Argentina's broken heart

Germany broke the heart of a nation on Sunday, leaving millions of disconsolate Argentines to contemplate a defeat that deprived the South American country of its first World Cup win in almost three decades.

In downtown Buenos Aires' San Martin park, a boisterous crowd was stunned into silence by a Mario Goetze volley in extra-time which gave Germany a 1-0 win in the World Cup final in Rio de Janeiro.

Distraught fans held their heads in their hands as the final minutes ticked down.

"It's another slap in the face. There is no more joy, but we came out second and were not shamed in Brazil," said 40-year-old Eduardo Manfredi.

Despite the disappointment, tens of thousands of supporters streamed to the capital's iconic Obelisk monument waving the national flag, determined to party in celebration of reaching the final on the turf of their arch soccer rivals, Brazil.

Fans climbed onto bus stops and scaled lamp posts as chants of "Argentina, Argentina" rang out, while fireworks exploded overhead.

In a country polarised by a decade of politics under the populist president Cristina Fernandez and her predecessor, Fernandez's late husband Nestor Kirchner, the national soccer team is a rare unifier.


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