Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 14th 2014 Contents BUENOS AIRES---Pain-stricken
Argentines held their heads high
after watching their national team
give it all against a powerful Ger-
many but come up short in extra
time, losing 1-0 in the country s
first World Cup finals appearance
in 24 years.
Entering the match as the under-
dog after Germany s 7-1 thrashing
of host Brazil, Argentina showed a
great deal of determination during
much of the game, creating several
opportunities to score in the first 90
minutes of regulation time.
In a packed Plaza San Martin,
where fans climbed atop lamp posts
to catch a glimpse of the match on
a giant screen, a crowd of some
20,000 people came to life and
shouted every time the team led by
captain Lionel Messi entered German
"I feel an enormous sadness," 19-
year-old Soledad Canelas, carrying
a blue-and-white Argentine flag, said
after the game. "I had the illusion of
seeing Argentina become champion
for the first time in my life."
Argentina last played in a World
Cup final in 1990, when it lost to
West Germany. Four years earlier, it
became world champion for the sec-
ond time led by captain Diego
Maradona, also in a final against the
After yesterday s match, a sea of
fans gathered at the iconic Obelisk
in Argentina s capital in a show of
appreciation of their team s grit. Amid
a display of fireworks, fans expressed
pride in their team s performance.
Many businesses around the coun-
try had closed during the game, and
in the capital thousands of fans
watched the match on giant screens.
Many people held game-day cele-
brations of traditional beef barbeques
known as asados.
Giant posters with a smiling Messi
seemed to greet passers-by on almost
every corner of Buenos Aires, where
the Argentine team s jerseys were
among the most sold items in sports
The shot at the title united Argen-
tines otherwise exasperated by one
of the world s highest inflation rates,
an encroaching debt crisis and a cor-
ruption scandal that has penetrated
deep into President Cristina Fernan-
dez s inner circle.
BERLIN---A quarter of a million German foot-
ball fans reacted with unbridled joy, mixed
with shock, yesterday when Mario Goetze
struck late in extra-time for Germany to win
the World Cup with a 1-0 victory over Argenti-
na.The supporters, packed into the "fan mile"
in front of the German capital s famous Bran-
denburg Gate, screamed as one when Goetze
took the ball on his chest and let fly inside the
far post from a narrow angle.
Fans cheered, clapped and shouted, with
groups of fans hugging and jumping into the
air together, making so much noise the com-
mentary on the large screens they had come to
watch could no longer be heard. Flares illumi-
nated the stage and sent plumes of smoke into
"We re going to be world champions! We re
going to be world champions!" yelled the com-
pere of the public viewing event, despite seven
minutes of extra-time remaining in Brazil.
The party was already underway in Berlin,
though there were a couple of nervous moments
before the revellers could really let themselves
go.Cars were on the streets with drivers beeping
their horns, whooping and yelling, before captain
Philip Lahm had even lifted the trophy at Rio
de Janeiro s Maracana Stadium.
Once he did, a massive fireworks display took
place around the Brandenburg Gate, where fans
had begun gathering for the game six hours
Not even the rain or ominous thunder rum-
bling overhead could put them off. Police closed
a number of entrances to the "fan mile" at least
four hours before kickoff due to the sheer volume
of fans attending. With three hours to go, police
said it was full. Other public viewing venues
also filled up, despite forecasts of heavy rain
across the country. Showers and summer storms
were due to move in from the southwest.
Some 50,000 fans attended the Fan-Arena
at St Pauli s stadium in Hamburg, while sup-
porters brought their sofas to watch the World
Cup games at Union Berlin s Alte Foersterei sta-
Standing on thousands of discarded plastic
beer cups, the fans at the Brandenburg Gate
cheered loudly before kickoff came when the
clouds gave way and the sun briefly broke
through. The long wait took its toll on some
overindulgent supporters, however, keeping the
Red Cross busy throughout the match.
There was a solitary scream, followed by
stunned silence, when Gonzalo Higuain thought
he d scored for Argentina in the first half, only
for wild cheering to erupt when the effort was
disallowed for offside.
The fans applauded record goalscorer Miroslav
Klose when he went off after possibly his last
game, but otherwise there few opportunities
for fans to let loose until Goetze finally broke
"They made it exciting," Leon Tober of Fuer-
stenwalde, east of Berlin, told The Associated
Press. "It was a long wait, especially after twice
coming third (in previous World Cups). It s great
for the young generation. They re a super troupe
of players. They can go on now and win even
It was Germany s fourth World Cup and its
first as a reunified country.
West Germany s triumph in 1990 came several
months after the fall of the Berlin Wall, which
passed in front of the Brandenburg Gate, which
will host more celebrations Tuesday when coach
Joachim Loew s team is scheduled to display
the World Cup trophy to fans.
"Better Germany than Argentina," said Tibo
Medici from Switzerland. Both his and his friend
Nicolo Butzze, who said they were in Berlin to
cheer on the side "because Brazil is too expen-
sive," had German fathers.
Not everyone had been supporting Germany.
A Berlin tax-driver with an Argentina flag flying
from his window riled fans on Kastanienallee
Street in Prenzlauer Berg by beeping at them
as he passed.
"I ve been cursed at and spat upon," said
Cihan Goz, laughing as he relayed the story. He
said he was a fan of Maradona, revered among
Argentines as the world s best ever player. Coz
was still picking up passengers despite the flag.
German foreign minister Frank-Walter Stein-
meier, who watched the game in Berlin with
Argentina s ambassador in Germany, said, "We
dreamed of becoming world champions and
that dream came true."
Monday, July 14, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Germany's party gets underway at home
German soccer fans react after the deciding goal for Germany in the final of the Brazil World
Cup 2014 between Germany and Argentina played in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, at a public viewing
area called 'Fan Mile' in Berlin, yesterday Germany won by 1-0. AP PHOTO
RIO DE JANEIRO---Lionel Messi s
final act in the 2014 World Cup was
lifting a free kick high over the bar,
wasting Argentina s last chance to
equalise in the final against Ger-
It was far from a fitting finish for
the four-time world player of the
This was supposed to be Messi s
World Cup, just like the 1986 tour-
nament belonged to another Argentine
great, Diego Maradona.
But after carrying his team through
the group stage in Brazil with four
goals, Messi seemed to run out of
In the final yesterday, he created
chances but, like the rest of the team,
lacked the finishing touch to turn the
game for Argentina.
He was a picture of disappointment
after the 1-0 loss as he collected the
trophy for the tournament s best play-
"I think he deserves it because he
played an extraordinary role. He was
the fundamental factor in the team,"
Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella
Messi has won everything there is
to win with club team Barcelona, but
many critics say he needs a World
Cup title to be considered among
football s all-time greats.
"He s been there for quite a while
already, in the pantheon of the greats,"
Sabella said, when asked to compare
Messi with players like Maradona and
Brazilian legend Pele.
Messi stood out in an otherwise
mediocre Argentine team in the group
stage, scoring against Bosnia-Herze-
govina and Iran and twice against
The free kick he curled inside Nige-
ria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama s left
post was a masterpiece. Then, game
by game, Messi s influence started
Against Switzerland he had little
impact until extra time, when he
drilled a hole in the Swiss defense
and set up Angel Di Maria s winning
goal. In the next game, against Bel-
gium, he started the movement that
resulted in Gonzalo Higuain s first-
half winner and helped Argentina
keep possession as the Belgians tried
to level the score.
Man-marked by Nigel de Jong,
Messi struggled to find space in the
semifinal win over the Netherlands,
and besides a few runs and deft passes
into the area against Germany, he
didn t have a big impact on the final.
Messi's Cup ends
on bitter note
Argentines hold heads high
Argentina soccer fans react as they watch a live broadcast of the World
Cup final match between Argentina and Germany on an outdoor television
screen in Buenos Aires, Argentina, yesterday. AP PHOTO
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