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The World Cup is Over for Germany but the Party Must Continue

Germany's World Cup dream died in the last two minutes of extra-time despite the prayers 

Hosts Germany are out of the World Cup after losing to Italy. The whole country goes into mourning but DW-WORLD.DE believes Germany still has plenty to celebrate even though the dream is now over.

"We're going to Berlin" the euphoric fans were singing. Even those travelling to fan fests and bars all over Germany were singing the refrain; not a joyous exclamation of their actual destination but a song proclaiming the widely held belief that Germany's destiny was the World Cup final in the capital on July 9.
They did get to Berlin, on June 30. And they won there -- beating Argentina in a nail-biting, quarter-final climax -- but they won't be going back to contest the World Cup in the final. Germany's dream of watching their home team raise the golden trophy in triumph ended when Italy not only crashed the party but ate all the food, drank all the champagne and went home with the family silver stuffed up their shirts.
For this was a smash-and-grab raid of the most heartless kind. Germany -- not so much a country in the last few weeks, but a living, breathing unified entity -- was ready to follows its team along its pre-destined path to the title and to then fall into a rapture which would quite possibly never end.
That was the belief. The country was riding a wave unlike anything felt in the last 15 years. It was not only a hope that Germany would win but it seemed to be a very poorly kept secret among the white-shirted millions which had turned a recently depressed and morose nation into the world's biggest festival site. No one doubted the outcome.
Klinsi's kids came from nowhere to bring hope
It was supposed to be so different
It was all very different before the World Cup. Jürgen Klinsmann's team was already written-off before the first ball was kicked in anger. But when the action started, this team of youngsters showed a desire and flair that no-one, not even the most enthusiastic fan, would have expected.
But when the players started to deliver in such style, the country started to wonder. And then they started to hope. Then they started to believe. It was infectious and the team's performances seemed to flow with an energy generated from Hamburg to Munich, from Cologne to Berlin.
This is why the Italian victory is such a blow to Germany. Any team would be deflated by defeat, leaving the world stage to others who will compete for the trophy they thought they were destined to lift. A country which wanted a World Cup win on home soil so badly can only feel an emotion close to bereavement after such a loss.
Positive vibe must continue in host nation
But while the bubble has so cruelly burst, there are huge positives to take from Germany's World Cup experience.
Germans should be proud of their team and their World Cup
As a team, Germany actually performed above all expectations and should be honoured and proud of their showing. They should harness this new attacking flair, nurture it further and come back even stronger, possibly creating a new German legacy of soccer dominance in the future.
As a people, the Germans should refuse to let such a defeat rob them of their new enthusiasm and to channel the pride in their country and the new respect from outside their borders into a new positive way of living. They have showed that Germany can be an inclusive, friendly and welcoming nation. The Germans have consigned many of their stereotypes to a history pre-2006 through welcoming the world and showing it how to party.
While the post-match trauma will no doubt lead to a river of tears which will flow through the country, Germany must get a grip as soon as possible if this World Cup isn't going to deflate entirely. The Germans now have a responsibility to put on their make-up once more, hold the flags proudly aloft again and continue to sing of travelling to Berlin. Because the final party is not going to be anywhere near as fun without the hosts in attendance

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Two Late Extra-Time Goals Kill Off Germany's World Cup Dream

A game too far: Germany's seemingly unstoppable journey to Berlin came to a halt

Italy scored two sensational late goals in extra-time to book their place in the World Cup final for the first time in 12 years with their 2-0 win crushing the dreams of host nation Germany in Dortmund on Tuesday.

Normal time had failed to produce a goal in the semi-final clash and it looked like penalties were on the cards deep into extra-time.
But Italian defender Fabio Grosso scored deep into extra-time with a brilliant curling effort and substitute Alessandro Del Piero added a second to break Germany's hearts.
Italy, who won the last of their three titles in 1982 beating West Germany 3-1, will face either France or Portugal in Sunday's final at Berlin's Olympic Stadium.
For Germany a third place play-off in Stuttgart on Saturday will be little consolation.
Germany had never lost in Dortmund but Italy produced their best display of the tournament to reach the final and give the football fans back home something to celebrate in the wake of Serie A's match-fixing scandal.
Germany manager Jürgen Klinsmann was forced to rejig his starting line-up after football's governing body FIFA suspended midfielder Torsten Frings for hitting Julio Cruz in the post match melee that followed the quarter-final win over Argentina.
Sebastian Kehl, playing on the ground where he plays for Borussia Dortmund, deputized for Frings.
Italy beat 12th man of formidable Dortmund crowd
Italy's Fabio Grosso celebrates hitting the first goal
With the bulk of the 65,000 fans jeering their every touch Italy may have been intimidated but they were far from it and their clever passing triangles caused untold problems.
On the quarter hour mark Italy had a great opening but Simone Perrotta's first touch failed to match the quality of Francesco Totti's pass and goalkeeper Jens Lehmann blocked his toe-poked shot.
Germany had a good chance of their own in the 33rd minute after Italy lost possession in midfield but Bernd Schneider fired his shot over the crossbar.
At half-time the score was 0-0 - in stark contrast to their last meeting in March when Italy led 3-0 in Florence at the interval. The score finished 4-1 to Italy that night but there was no chance of such a goals fest in this match.
Germany saved by post and crossbar before killer blows
A 0-0 stalemate meant extra-time - a first for Italy at these finals, but not for Germany who needed 120 minutes and penalties to defeat Argentina.
Italy's Andrea Pirlo celebrates reaching the World Cup final
The opening of extra-time saw Italy twice hit the woodwork with Alberto Gilardino hitting the post and Gianluca Zambrotta rattled the crossbar seconds later.
It looked like penalties would decide the match but Grosso and Del Piero struck to shellshock Klinsmann and the home fans.

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Female soccer fans are a conspicuous minority  

 Soccer fever in Germany is not subject to gender limitations. At the stadium, at public viewings or at home, ladies are tuning in to the World Cup just as much as the guys. But it's not a new phenomenon, says one expert.

Nicole Selmer is author of the book "Watching the Boys Play -- Women as Soccer Fans" (AGON-Sportverlag, 2004). When not following the World Cup, she faithfully roots for Borussia Dortmund -- through thick and thin.


DW-WORLD.DE: It's predominantly men who attend soccer games during the regular season, but now we're suddenly seeing tons of women in the stands. What's different?


Nicole Selmer: Unfortunately I have to contradict that statement. I've been in the World Cup stadiums and I have to say that there are fewer women there than during the regular Bundesliga season. I would say that women make up about a quarter of the spectators at Bundesliga games, but less than that now during the World Cup. There are a whole lot of women at the fan fests, public viewings, in the pubs and definitely in front of the TV at home. A good half of the viewers there are women.


Nicole Selmer found an interest in soccer during the 1982 World Cup 

Why are women suddenly so interested in soccer?


It's not the case that women are interested in soccer now all of a sudden. The discovery that women sit in front of the TV and watch soccer games has been made during every World Cup for the past 16 years. That was the case in Italy in 1990 as well. Half of the people watching the semi-final Germany-England game were women. That was true in '94 in the US and in '98 in France. In South Korea the crowd was totally female -- you could even hear it in the fans' high-pitched screeching -- and the same thing is being discovered again in Germany right now. Actually, it's really not a new phenomenon. Certainly, a lot more women are interested in national games than in the Bundesliga, but that's true about the men, too. 


The cliche goes that women want to check out the players' well-toned legs and backsides and hope to catch a glimpse of naked torsos when they trade jerseys at the end of the game. Is there truth to the stereotype?


It really is a stereotype. But it's true that women can talk about other things at a soccer game than men. When the men get up and go to the concession stand for a beer -- then maybe the women will talk about how the players look or who they like. Those are probably things the men don't talk about, because it doesn't fit with the classic cliche of how a fan is supposed to act.


Do men and women watch soccer in the same way?


I know from my interviews with female fans that there are quite a lot of similarities, which tend to outweigh the differences. But the major difference is that going to a stadium doesn't have the same meaning for men and women. When men go alone, they don't get stared at and they don't have to explain the offsides rule when they become chancellor. [German Chancellor Angela Merkel was asked by journalists to explain the offsides rule.]   


Are the women just there to check out the players' fine-tuned bodies  -- like Michael Ballack's?  

Men always like to pretend that they are real soccer experts and would have led their team to victory a long time ago had someone given them the chance. Are women like that, too?


Yes, sometimes. I think for women there is a wide spectrum of behavioral styles as far as soccer is concerned. Take the classic situation of a large group of people sitting in front of the television. There are women who make an extra effort to say things like, "Oh, that's so cute!" Maybe just to bother their husbands a little bit. And then there are other women who try to make a lot of clever statements and enjoy the attention they get.


Women often have to put up with the accusation that they don't even know what an offsides trap is. Is that different now during the World Cup, where women are attending public viewings with big screens and following the games on their TV at home?


I don't think so. The fan fests and public viewings aren't really about soccer. No one talks about offsides or tactics there. It's just about having fun -- it's not even only about winning. You can see that in the fans of the teams that have lost. They're not as sad as the fans in the Bundesliga. It's a bit less existential, I think.  


Women's soccer has been booming since these German ladies won the World Cup in 2003, said Selmer  

Since the World Cup started, you can see people kicking soccer balls around at all the parks. With this general increase in soccer enthusiasm, do you think that more women will also begin playing?


I definitely think so. But I also think that has to do with the women's soccer boom that's been going on since the German team won the World Cup title in 2003. That has certainly had an influence as well. More and more girls are playing soccer as children, so it's something they start to see as normal, something they know about.


How did you first become interested in soccer?


I became interested in soccer by watching the 1982 World Cup when I was 12. Actually, it wasn't a particularly good World Cup and the German games were especially unimpressive, but that made the excitement get to me all the more. Besides, I thought Kalle Rummenigge was really great. And since then the enthusiasm hasn't left me.


England's Shoot-Out Suffering Continues

Ricardo also topped England on penalty kicks in 2004  

Portugal booked a spot in the semi-finals after a penalty shoot-out that saw Ricardo block three English shots. England played the last hour of the game with 10 men in a controversy-packed quarter-final.

Portugal's 21-year-old star Cristiano Ronaldo scored the decisive spot-kick to hand Portugal a 3-1 shoot-out victory and shatter England's dream of a first World Cup for 40 years.


Even before the 120 minutes were up and Ricardo saved Portugal with a heroic shoot-out performance between the posts, not much went right for England coach Sven Goran Eriksson.


He watched star striker Wayne Rooney sent off dramatically and replaced a tearful David Beckham in the second half, a combination that left the rest of the England players shell-shocked after a closely fought first half.


Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher all saw penalties saved by Portugal keeper Ricardo while Simao and substitute Helder Postiga netted Portugal's other penalties.


Many will wonder if Rooney should have got yellow instead

English history repeats itself


Portugal, who beat England in a shoot-out at Euro 2004, will now face either France or Brazil in Wednesday's semi-final while England were left to contemplate their fifth exit on penalties in eight tournaments since 1990.


It was also the third time in three tournaments that England coach Eriksson had seen his side beaten by a team coached by Brazilian World Cup winner Luiz Felipe Scolari.


England had a good case for a penalty turned down by Argentinean referee Horacio Elizondo on 50 minutes when Beckham fired a cross into Nuno Valente's arm. Shortly after, Beckham, who seemed to be nursing a sore ankle, was taken out of the game for Aaron Lennon.


Lennon didn't take long to make an impact on the game and just when it looked as if Lennon's introduction might have turned the game England's way, Rooney saw red in a decision that is bound to be the subject of furious debate.


Rooney appeared to have been fouled by Portugal centre-half Ricardo Carvalho but as he battled to break clear he rashly sunk his studs into the defender's groin, sparking a short melee.


Eriksson switched up his line-up while Rooney was taking an early shower by bringing on Peter Crouch for Joe Cole.


The man advantage signaled the beginning of a Portuguese onslaught, and England had keeper Paul Robinson to thank for a superb save from Luis Figo on 78 minutes that kept them in the match.


Both teams had dangerous chances on goal in the second half, but the two keepers proved up to what the strikers could deliver and neither team was able to make a break-through, forcing the penalty shoot-out


Henry's Strike Enough to Dump Champions Brazil Out of Cup

Thierry Henry and Zinedine Zidane celebrate knocking out the world champions  

France progressed to the World Cup semi-finals after a pulsating but mostly cagey match in Frankfurt in which they beat Brazil 1-0. Thierry Henry's goal means that Les Bleus will play Portugal in Munich on Wednesday.

A Thierry Henry goal handed France a deserved 1-0 win over lackluster defending champions Brazil in a World Cup quarter-final in Frankfurt on Saturday.


France, whose dominant midfield display was fired by the imperious Zinedine Zidane, will meet Portugal in Wednesday's semi-final in Munich.


Henry scored in the 57th minute, drifting in late and unopposed at the far post to meet a Zidane free-kick with a right footed side-foot volley past a diving Dida.


The goal was just rewards for a French team often dubbed as too old and uninspiring which had controlled midfield thanks to the sterling efforts of man-of-the-match "Zizou", who just as in the 3-0 victory in the 1998 World Cup final proved Brazil's nemesis.


A perfect volley from a perfect cross: 1-0 France

The veteran captain showed some at-times sensational footwork in his golden boots and was the catalyst for a buoyant French team, even if his final balls tended to be over hit.


After a tight first-half with few chances and where Dida and counterpart Fabien Barthez were not tested, the game came alight in the second half.


Henry's goal spurred France into waves of counter-attacks against a Brazil side lacking any real creative purpose up front despite early glimpses of playmaker Ronaldinho's silky skills.


With their back four in disarray, Brazilian defender Juan almost deflected a cross into his own goal four minutes after Henry's goal -- his second in this World Cup.


France closed ranks to deny a Brazilian comeback


France's tough midfield holding duo of Patrick Vieira and Claude Makelele were quick to retreat and fill in as Brazil sought an equalizer, the most potent threat posed by Bayern Munich midfielder Ze Roberto down the left wing.


But it was France who should have scored a second, Franck Ribery sprinting past the covering defense in the 70th minute, but only snatching a shot from a Henry pass which was well parried by Dida.


With French tails well and truly up, Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira threw on Adriano to help out Ronaldo up front and the South Americans kept pushing.


Ronaldinho had a late chance with a free-kick two minutes from time, after Lilian Thuram brought down Ronaldo on the edge of area, but his swerving shot drifted high of its target.


Brazil throw everything at Les Bleus in search of parity


And Ronaldo forced Barthez into an acrobatic save with a powerful 25-yard shot on the stroke of full-time. Ze Roberto went close with a diving nudge on the resulting corner but the French held out.


Brazil had opened the game brightly, Juninho having a free-kick headed behind by Patrick Vieira in the fourth minute, and Roberto Carlos blasting an ambitious shot high and wide of Barthez' goal five minutes later.


Not his best night

Ronaldo had the match's first real sight on goal minutes later, doing well to connect to a Ronaldinho free-kick above Willy Sagnol, but sending his header over the crossbar.


Florent Malouda headed just wide from a free-kick with seven minutes of the first-half to play.


The half ended in controversy when Juan received only a yellow card for bringing Vieira down after the Juventus midfielder had sprinted through on to a superb Zidane through ball.


Ronaldo was then harshly yellow-carded when the resulting Henry free-kick hit his hand but Zidane's second effort on the edge of the area was driven into the wall.



Italy Make Light Work of Ukraine to Meet Hosts in Semi-Finals

Luca Toni's brace sealed the win after Gianluca Zambrotta got the ball rolling  

Despite surviving a few scares, Italy finally turned on the style and beat Ukraine in a 3-0 win and waltzed into the semi-finals of the World Cup and a date with hosts Germany in Dortmund on Tuesday.

Luca Toni scored twice as Italy beat Ukraine 3-0 in the World Cup quarter-finals in Hamburg on Friday to set up a mouth-watering last four clash against hosts Germany.


Gianluca Zambrotta, who earlier this week flew back to Italy to visit his stricken former Juventus team-mate Gianluca Pessotto after an apparent suicide attempt, gave the three-time champions an early lead with a left-footed shot.


Toni's close range header near the hour mark put the Azzurri firmly in the driving seat after a spell of heavy Ukraine pressure, and the giant Fiorentina marksman doubled his tally by tapping in Zambrotta's cross.


Italy's second goal came shortly after Gianluigi Buffon pulled off a superb save to deny Oleg Gusev, with Zambrotta blocking Anatoliy Tymoschuk's follow-up on the goal line.


Ukraine's Andriy Gusin's header hit the bar shortly after Toni had made it 2-0.


Ukraine striker Andriy Shevchenko, who spent seven years playing in Italy for AC Milan before signing for English champions Chelsea last month, was superbly snuffed out by a well-drilled Azzurri defence.


The match between Germany and Italy, which will be played in Dortmund on Tuesday, is a repeat of the 1982 final which the Italians won 3-1.


Gianluca Zambrotta celebrates after scoring the first goal

Midfielder Mauro Camoranesi, recalled to Italy's starting line-up to provide extra width on the right, threatened first, firing wide after a robust run through the middle in the fourth minute.


Defender Zambrotta's strike settles Italy's nerves


Italy went ahead through an unlikely source in the sixth minute.


Zambrotta played a one-two with Francesco Totti before firing a low drive past Oleksandr Shovkovskyi.


Ukraine came out fighting at the start of the second half and they might have levelled the score had it not been for Buffon's quick reflexes.


Francesco Totti was inspired against Ukraine

Gusin's downward header looked goal bound, but the Italy keeper managed to claw the ball away and picked up a bump on the head in the process after falling back onto the post.


Hot-shot Toni settles tie with double strike


Buffon came to Italy's rescue again when he palmed away Gusev's angled shot, and although Tymoschuk was first to the loose ball, Zambrotta was on hand to keep out the rebound.


Toni eased Italy's jangling nerves in the 59th minute, meeting Totti's left-wing cross with a meaty header.  And Toni had the final word 10 minutes later when he nudged Zambrotta's cut-back over the line from a yard out.


The last time Italy reached the semi-finals of the World Cup was in 1994 when they went on to the final only to lose to Brazil on penalties.


Germany in Semi-Final After Penalty Drama Against Argentina

The German team celebrates as Jens Lehmann saves Esteban Cambiasso's penalty  

The first World Cup quarter-final of 2006 between Germany and Argentina went to the wire and a penalty shoot-out after the two sides played out a 1-1 draw after extra-time. Germany won the shoot-out 4-2.

Goalkeeper Jens Lehmann was the toast of Germany as the hosts progressed into the semi-finals of the World Cup with a sensational 4-2 penalty shootout win over Argentina in Berlin on Friday.


With the game unsettled at 1-1 after extra-time Arsenal goalkeeper Lehmann stepped up to save spot-kicks from Roberto Ayala and Esteban Cambiasso to ensure celebration parties across Germany.


A rare goal from 33-year-old defender Ayala four minutes after the interval put Argentina ahead and they held the lead until the 80th minute.


But with the majority of the 72,000 fans driving them on Germany equalized with Miroslav Klose heading in his fifth goal of the finals.


Extra-time failed to separate the teams and penalties were needed to decide the tie.


Germany had won all three of their previous World Cup shoot-outs and converted all of their four penalties to march into the last four.


Germany will now face Italy, which cruised past Ukraine 3-0 in Friday's other quarter-final.


For two-time winners Argentina it was heartbreak and their emotions boiled over after the final whistle with several players involved in scuffles as tempers frayed.


Argentina coach Jose Pekerman made three changes to the team that beat Mexico in extra-time with the biggest surprise seeing Javier Saviola dropped to the substitute's bench for Carlos Tevez.


Germany manager Jürgen Klinsmann, part of the West Germany side that beat Argentina 1-0 in the 1990 World Cup final, stuck by the same team that beat Sweden in the second round.


Germany's flying start stifled by Argentina's midfield


The midfield battle stopped Germany's fluid style

The hosts had scored after four minutes in each of their last two matches - although they did not manage an early breakthrough this time - and started off at a frantic pace to unsettle the Argentines.


Argentina playmaker Riquelme created the first real danger in the game with his in-swinging corner forcing a clearance at the near post.


In the 16th minute Germany had their first opening with Ballack latching onto a cross but he could only divert his header wide.


With the game scoreless at half-time both managers had their players fired up for the second half and Argentina had Juan Sorin booked meaning he would miss the semi-final.


Ayala scores rare goal to test German character


But Argentina stomached that blow and four minutes after the interval they took the lead through an unlikely source. Riquelme curled in a corner from the right and veteran Ayala, winning his 105th cap, powered in a header.


Ayala is mobbed by his ecstatic colleagues

It was the first time Germany, who had kept three consecutive clean sheets, had gone behind in the tournament and they responded by piling forward.

Ballack had a chance to equalize on the hour mark but Ayala was on hand to block the Germany captain's shot.


Maxi Rodriguez had a chance to wrap up the game on 66 minutes for Argentina but shot into the side netting.


It was a costly mistake as Germany leveled in the 80th minute with substitute Tim Borowski flicking on a cross and Klose heading in.


Extra-time was needed and Fabricio Coloccini hit the crossbar with what looked like a misdirected cross.


Come the hour, come the man as Lehmann delivers


The lottery of penalties was to decide the match. With home support and good past experiences Germany seemed the inevitable winner.


Germany's nerve held out once again. The Germans kept up their incredible spot kick record as keeper Jens Lehmann twice guessed right to save from Ayala and Cambiasso.


Lehmann lay on the ground to contemplate the possibility of being cast as hero -- or villain --before rival and 2002 first choice German keeper Oliver Kahn came over to wish him luck.


It seemed to do the trick for Lehmann, whereas the unfortunate Leonardo Franco, a 28-year-old from Atletico Madrid who had to seize his chance in the limelight after replacing the injured Roberto Abbondanzieri 20 minutes from the end of normal time, was unable to stop any German strikes.


German penalty heroes keep Mannschaft record going


Oliver Neuville smashed the Germans ahead but Julio Cruz leveled. Skipper Michael Ballack then sent Franco the wrong way and then Lehmann guessed right, going to his left to smother a poor Ayala kick whereas Lukas Podolski showed nerves of steel to make it 3-1 for the hosts.


Maxi Rodriguez saw his shot squeeze low past Lehmann for 3-2 but Tim Borowski took Die Mannschaft to the brink with Franco going the wrong way.


Inter Milan's Cambiasso then hit his effort straight at Lehmann, who was promptly smothered by the whole squad and coaching staff before some of the Argentine players engaged in a brief bout of frustrated fisticuffs with Gabriel Heinze and German team manager Oliver Bierhoff having to be pulled apart.


Germany thus maintained their perfect World Cup penalty shoot-out record, having beaten France (1982), Mexico (1986) and England (1990) - with Uli Stielike being the only German to have missed one, against the French.


In contrast, Argentina spoilt their record after beating Yugoslavia (1990), Italy (1990) and England (1998).

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