Port Elizabeth: German newspapers on Sunday praised the national team for recovering to beat Uruguay 3-2 in the third-place playoff game and for giving the country a shot of patriotic pride that recalled the 2006 World Cup at home.
Many commentators pointed out that the young Germany side should have a bright future after they enjoyed commanding victories over England and Argentina with thrilling attacking play before getting knocked out by Spain in the semi-finals.
They also noted with some satisfaction that it was the second straight World Cup that Germany took the ‘bronze’ medal and their third consecutive World Cup among the top three after they finished runners-up to Brazil in 2002.
“Thanks lads for giving Germany one last World Cup celebration,” wrote Bild am Sonntag. “What a wonderful World Cup summer you’ve given us. Joachim Loew has put together a team that has captivated the imagination of all Germany.”
Miriam Nyary wrote that the team gave the country something special -- a new-found pride in its immigrant community. The side’s multi-cultural make-up showed Germans and the world that Germany, after years of self-denial, is a nation of immigrants.
“You created something magical on the pitch and gave us all back home in Germany such a thrill watching in the public viewing venues and on TV at home,” Nyary wrote. “From the first minute you electrified us, made us tremble, cheer and weep.
“But it wasn’t just the usual ‘German virtues’ that gave us so much joy... on the fan miles Germans and Turks embraced each other when Mesut Ozil scored the winner against Ghana. This multi-cultural feeling will remain long after the World Cup.”
The conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung paid tribute the celebrity octopus who accurately predicted the winner of all Germany’s World Cup matches -- including their two defeats.
“Paul the oracle octopus (at Sea Life) in Oberhausen got it right again,” FAZ wrote. “For the seventh straight time at the World Cup, Paul correctly picked the winner of Germany’s match.”
Millions of fans packed public viewing venues and TV ratings hit record levels. Germans dropped their normal reluctance to wave flags with the country’s black, red and gold colours adorning public celebrations across Germany.
The Sueddeutsche Zeitung in Munich said Germany were lucky to beat Uruguay in Saturday’s playoff.
“Germany won a lively match against Uruguay to take third place,” it wrote. “But the team looked more like a rock band that got a bit too over enthusiastic at the start and struggled to hang on to the end of the concert.
“Yet the team again presented itself as team for the future -- and one capable of winning big matches in the present.”
Guenter Netzer, a former Germany midfielder and now a TV pundit, wrote in a Bild am Sonntag column: “Even if they didn’t win the big prize, you have to hand it to this team for a really great performance. The chances are very good that this team will land the ultimate prize at one of the next tournaments.”
The Welt am Sonntag also looked to the future.
“Germany didn’t win the title but instead the team was full of excitement, creativity and was highly entertaining.
“The team is young and needs more experience -- so they will play with more courage than in last week’s semi-final in two or four years or maybe even win the next title. After all, it has been 14 years since the last championship was won.”