World Cup: German tension ends with roars of relief
- 14 July 2014
- From the section Europe
German fans had been gathering at the "Fan Mile" in Berlin for hours and heavy downpours failed to dampen their optimism.
Ask anyone and they would tell you that Germany were a team - but Argentina was only Lionel Messi.
He might be a genius but Germany were a system of talent. So the assertions went.
But for 113 minutes, the plan didn't work out. The German fans were subdued as Argentina threatened and German chances came to nothing.
It was a night of groans and disappointment rather than the elation that was meant to be.
And then, in extra time, the deadlock was broken by Mario Goetze - and the stillness was broken in the Berlin night by hundreds of thousands of roars.
The place exploded in noise. The screen showed Angela Merkel in the stadium engaging in the same delight.
And the roar never seemed to stop. The moment the final whistle went, fireworks started in Berlin, and so did the dancing and the shouting, as though a huge explosion of relief had suddenly been released.
This is the fourth World Cup win for a German side, but only the first for a united Germany. The first three were for West Germany.
German media reaction
The Bild taboid splashes pictures of the team's celebrations in Rio under the headline: "Party night with Rihanna and Merkel". "Our players celebrated in the Sheraton, letting their hair down in the Copacabana room," the paper reports, above a timeline of the evening's festivities.
The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung goes for the more sober: "Goetze shoots Germany to four-star-land", above a photo of Chancellor Angela Merkel with the team after the match. "The 'Wunderkind' goes down in history with a work of magic," it says.
Die Welt chooses a photo of midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger kissing the trophy while still bleeding from a cut under his eye. "Bloodied warrior Schweinsteiger makes all of Germany happy," is their headline.
The first in 1954 was obviously significant because the war and the destruction of much of Germany had only happened nine years earlier.
But this one matters too beyond the football field - it shows Germany confident in itself.
On Tuesday, the World Cup winners come here to the road leading up to the Brandenburg Gate.
The crowd then may be even bigger than the one on the Fan Mile by the Brandenburg Gate on the night of the actual victory.
It might not be so rowdy, but, then again, the World Cup is won.
Tuesday is to relish. Sunday was about tension, and tension released.