Germany in raptures as team go blazing on

German newspapers predicted a World Cup triumph and poured scorn on coach Diego Maradona as “an over-the-hill gunfighter” after Argentina were ruthlessly dispatched 4-0 in the World Cup quarter-finals.

Saturday’s win over Maradona’s Argentina in Cape Town came less than a week after Joachim Loew’s Germany team had equally clinically ended England‘s hopes 4-1 in the second round.

The latest resounding victory sent the normally hypercritical German media — and its public — into raptures on Sunday.

“Thanks, you heroes!” wrote Bild am Sonntag newspaper. “Unbelievable! Germany beats Argentina 4-0. Four to Zero!”

Bild am Sonntag’s normally difficult-to-please columnist Guenter Netzer, the former international, could hardly contain himself.

“It was more than a victory, it was a demonstration of ‘Uebermacht’ (superiority),” wrote Netzer, now a popular TV pundit. “It was one of the best performances from a Germany team that I’ve ever seen.”

Netzer admitted he was wrong with his earlier public doubts about Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski. “I never would have thought they would have played such a strong World Cup.”

Former Germany coach Juergen Klinsmann, who led the team to third place in 2006 and is now a TV analyst, was also full of praise for the team and his successor, Joachim Loew.

“The team seems to have a lot of fun and that’s the base for attractive football — and Jogi (Loew) is doing an awesome job,” Klinsmann told Reuters.

SURGE OF PATRIOTISM

Millions of fans have packed public viewing venues and were given credit by Loew for helping motivate the team. More than 350,000 watched on giant screens set up in central Berlin.

Dropping their normal reluctance towards flag waving, German fans have wrapped themselves in their black, red and gold flags and celebrated with an unprecedented level of patriotism.

“Deutschland einig Zauberland” (Germany united Magic Land) wrote the Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

“The 4-0 win over Argentina wasn’t only due to Germany’s dominance on the pitch but also due to Loew’s superior tactics,” wrote the newspaper’s columnist Thomas Hummel.

“Diego Maradona looked like an over-the-hill gunfighter in a Western film.

“Maradona was a bundle of nerves before the match, hugging some of the players as if someone in their family had just died.

“The over-the-top show of emotions might not have led to Germany getting the early goal but it may have helped. The Germans by contrast seemed to be calm and collected from the start.”

Other newspapers expressed surprise at the team’s strength.

“A dream team,” wrote the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. “All of Germany is going berserk over these incredible lopsided victories over England and now Argentina.

“Anyone who three weeks ago would have predicted a 4-1 win over England and then a 4-0 destruction of Argentina would have been ridiculed as a hopelessly naive football novice. Loew’s team proved against Argentina they are world-class.”

Welt am Sonntag said Germany must be a top favourite now.

“The title is within our grasp,” wrote Welt am Sonntag columnist Stefan Frommann. “With courage and strength the German footballers were knocking on the gates to heaven. The happy ending for the midsummer fairy tale is getting closer.

“We discovered the ‘We-are-Germany’ feeling four years ago thanks to Juergen Klinsmann. And thanks to his successor Joachim Loew we’re rediscovering our love for football all over again.

“The team is soaking up the ‘We-are-Germany’ feeling from the fan miles in Germany and using that energy on the pitch.”

Frommann noted that Germany’s 20-year-old striker Thomas Mueller was one of the millions of fans who watched Germany’s good run four years ago from a public viewing fan mile.

(Editing by Jon Bramley)

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