Germany’s delight and England’s hangover


Hamburg/London : The celebrations finally subsided in the fading light of Sunday and Germans woke up Monday to realize that the 4-1 World Cup beating of England wasn’t a dream but reality.

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“Jungs (boys) We love You,” screamed the front page headline of the Bild tabloid in English, and telling the team “it was delightful to watch you.”

The B.Z. daily in Berlin celebrated “the match of all matches,” while Kicker sports magazine wrote “That was super” and said “what a match, what a win!”

In England, by contrast, the collective nightmare could not be cushioned by the controversy around Frank Lampard’s shot off the cross bar which clearly fell behind the goalline, but was not given.

Had it counted, England would have recovered from 2-0 down to 2-2 within a few minutes and the game may have been different. But everyone agreed that they had been comprehensively outplayed by the young, speedy Germans in England’s biggest World Cup defeat ever.

“The truth was, it was an utter irrelevance. England were ruthlessly demolished,” said the Daily Telegraph.

“What 20,000 ever-loyal England fans gathered in Bloemfontein witnessed yesterday was not defeat. It was humiliation. There wasn’t even the usual straw of the penalty shoot-out to cling to. England were hammered without recourse to spot kicks, suffering their worst defeat in World Cup finals.”

The Sun said that “England’s abysmal players shamed the shirt” and were among those saying it was for manager Fabio Capello to go.

“Awful England were robbed of a goal, then stripped of their pride as the Germans exposed their stumbling defence in a shambolic World Cup exit yesterday,” said The Sun.

“It was embarrassing to watch as Mesut Oezil and Bastian Schweinsteiger made monkeys of Lampard, Barry and the rest.”

The Guardian said: “England’s representatives were caught flat-footed time and again by players who moved between them like white- clad dancers.”

The Daily Mail said: “The future looks bright for Germany, it hardly bears thinking about for England.”

England’s ageing stars like John Terry, Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard may have seen their last World Cup, the young Germans around Oezil, two-goal hero Thomas Mueller and Schweinsteiger thrilled their home country with quality football a German team has rarely shown in the past.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung named the team “the most promising of the Old Continent” in what has been the worst World Cup for Europe ever.

Kicker struck a similar note, naming the team of Joachim Loew “the trump card for Europe.”

And the millions of Germans who wildly celebrated the huge win Sunday remain hugely optimistic ahead of the quarter-final date with Lionel Messi’s and Diego Maradona’s Argentina Saturday.

“The fourth star (for a World Cup title) is within reach for Joachim Loew and his boys,” said Kicker.

In an online poll by Bild, 77 per cent of some 46,000 Germans who responded believe that “everything is possible now.” Only 23 per cent said by mid-morning Monday that Argentina’s class and experience would prevail.