Subdued Germans go home quietly after Euro final loss

June 30th, 2008 - 1:31 pm ICT by IANS  

Hamburg, June 30 (DPA) Germany went to bed quietly and peacefully in the early hours of Monday after its national team was beaten comprehensively by Spain for the Euro 2008 title a few hours earlier. A few “Germany Germany” chants echoed across Hamburg’s red light district Reeperbahn thoroughfare and the small Spanish community was also represented in delight about the historic moment.

Fernando Torres’ 33rd-minute winner silenced what appeared to be a whole nation of football fans which had hoped for the title in Germany’s roller-coaster ride to the final.

The Berlin fan zone was filled to its 500,000 capacity more than three hours ahead of the final at around the same time that the first news reports indicated that captain Michael Ballack would play despite a calf-muscle scare.

Ballack’s presence was the top news in German radio and television in the final countdown to the match and the streets were deserted by the time of the kickoff in Vienna.

But soon Germans realised that it wasn’t to be their day as visitors in an Italian restaurant in Hamburg’s trendy Eppendorf district and elsewhere in the country saw that Germany’s defence was not up to standard.

The attack featuring Bayern Munich buddies Bastian Schweinsteiger and Lukas Podolski also failed to show as much flair as in previous matches.

The crowd in fan zones and restaurants was silenced by Torres’ goal and Spain’s complete domination from midway in the second half onwards until the final whistle was greeted with admiration.

The final whistle resulted in no trouble as police in Berlin and elsewhere said the fans left without incident.

“The fans left the fan zone very quietly, very peacefully and in very well-behaved way,” said a Berlin fan zone official after the match.

Many fans even left before the final whistle, subdued or to beat the crowd on the way home as there was nothing to celebrate when the Henri Delaunay trophy was eventually given to Spain captain Iker Casillas and not Ballack.

Apart from the more than 500,000 in Berlin, 70,000 fans watched the game in Munich, Frankfurt recorded 50,000 fans and Hamburg 42,000.

Many of them may have endured bad feelings as they realised that they now faced a long wait until the 2010 World Cup, but others saw the second-place finish as an omen for the 2010 World Cup after Germany came third at the 2006 World Cup.

After all, “three-two-one” was shouted more than once as Germans tried to emulate their team for fighting spirit.

But despite the disappointment, hundreds of thousands of fans are set to turn up in Berlin once again Monday when the team presents itself at the fan zone - empty-handed just like after the 2006 World Cup third-place finish.

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