Germans quietly celebrated third-place of their World Cup football team on a sweltering on Saturday night amid hopes for more success in the future.
The start of school holidays in several states, the intense heat and the disappointment about the semifinal defeat against Spain led to smaller crowds at the fanfests and other public viewing events.
The Berlin fan mile was filled to one third of its 350,000 capacity and in Hamburg a mere 5,000 came to the fanfest, which can accommodate 70,000.
The Spain defeat had subdued the nation, but Sami Khedira’s late 3-2 winner against Uruguay on Saturday ended the adventure of Joachim Loew’s young team on a positive note.
“Thank you boys for this very last World Cup party,” said the Bild paper on its website.
“You gave us a beautiful summer ... You spoilt us with fresh and attacking football and the whole world envied us. Germany played the best football. It is Ok that we are the third best team. We saw in the semifinal what this team is still lacking to finally lift the World Cup again.”
German football supremo Theo Zwanziger said that “I am very proud of this young team” and German President Christian Wulff, who was also in Port Elizabeth for the game, said “spectators around the world enjoyed this German team.”
The whole country will now be hoping that Loew will renew his contract and continue working with Bastian Schweinsteiger, Philipp Lahm, Mesut Oezil, Thomas Mueller and the others. A decision is expected before the end of the month.
“That’s why the future belongs to us,” said Bild. “At the Euro tournament in Poland and Ukraine 2012 we not only want to play the best football again, but celebrate as well after the last match, the final. That must be the aim now.”
The nation, and many others around the planet were stunned by Germany’s football and their big wins over Australia (4-0), England (4-1) and Argentina (4-0).
The fans rallied behind the team as in the 2006 home event, and there were some raised eyebrows when the team decided after the semifinal defeat that there would be no reception for the fans, with Lahm deeming it “inappropriate” because the players had wanted more.
German icon Franz Beckenbauer was among those who questioned that decision, but the fans were probably reconciled a little bit by Germany’s fighting spirit and victory in the surprisingly entertaining third-place game.
“That was very important, for our fans as well. Thank god we won the game,” said Schweinsteiger.
Keywords: 2010 FIFA World Cup