Merkel chief cheerleader as Germany celebrates

BERLIN - Joyous celebrations erupted in Berlin and across the country on Saturday after Germany crushed Argentina 4-0 to advance to the World Cup semi-finals - and provided the team with more future inspiration.

More than 350,000 fans watching at a public viewing venue in Berlin let out a roar of jubilation for all four Germany goals and celebrated in style after the whistle with their team winning a spot in the semi-finals again after 2002 and 2006.

Germany coach Joachim Low paid tribute to the mass crowds back home and revealed after the match that he used a film clip of fans cheering during the quarter-final 4-1 win over England as a motivational tool just before the Argentine match.

"Right before the match we put together a film of some of the scenes of the fans celebrating back in Germany," Low said.

"We showed it to the team right before we departed for the Argentine match.

"It was a film from the various fan miles and showing the fans in Germany celebrating during the England match. I think that's the best motivation possible for our team."


Discarding their normal reservations over public displays of patriotism, German fans wrapped themselves in their black, red and gold flags and jumped for joy.

Complete strangers embraced each other in celebrations on Berlin's packed fan mile.

In Berlin, the enormous crowd watched the game under clear blue skies and temperatures that hit 38 degrees Celsius. Tens of thousands more watched on big television screens at squares, at public pools and lakeshores across the country.

"I got goose bumps watching this," said one fan at the public viewing venue set up between the Brandenburg Gate and the Victory Column in the heart of Berlin's government quarter.

"Everyone here loves each other, everyone loves Germany. It's a great feeling. We're going to win the World Cup again."

There were spontaneous car rallies in towns and cities across the country - with cheering fans ignoring recent warnings from the authorities that beeping car horns and hanging out of moving vehicles is against the law.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel also got swept up by the scope of the victory over Argentina. She had predicted a 2-1 win and let go of her usual reserved style after the match.

"It's overwhelming, it's a dream, just a dream," Merkel said in an interview with German TV.

"I'm a cautious person. I didn't start to feel good about it until we went ahead 4-0. I think Germany has accomplished something quite wonderful."

Germany striker Thomas Muller also paid tribute to the fans back home. "I think Germany's quaking right now and so are we. It's insane," he said.

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