Spirit of 2006 reviving in Germany

BERLIN - The spirit of the 2006 World Cup which Germany hosted has begun to revive as 300,000 spectators packed into a public viewing area at Berlin's Victory Column to watch their team squeak into the second round.

Many remain cautious about their team's prospects, however, with a narrow 1-0 win against Ghana on Wednesday setting up a last 16 clash against old rivals England on Sunday.

"The main thing is that we're through," said Peter Labude, a Berlin fan summing up the nation's mood as he celebrated in a post-match victory parade of honking cars through Berlin.

German newspaper headlines and television commentators said Germany were lucky to advance with sub-par performances so far.

"We made it - but did we have our jitters," wrote Bild, the country's best-selling daily. "Next up is England on Sunday."

"Ozil provides deliverance," wrote Die Welt daily, toasting the country's new hero Mesut Ozil, a young German of Turkish descent who scored the match-winner against Ghana.

Before Ozil opted to play for Germany, Turks in Germany's 1.7-million strong ethnic community played for Turkey. His heroics in Johannesburg will have done wonders to boost integration in Germany.

Guenter Netzer, a former midfielder and now a TV analyst, said Germany will not beat England unless they raise their game.

"They had a lot of confidence before the tournament but couldn't show it in the tournament so far," he said. "They all know they'll need a better performance against England. That's not going to be good enough to beat England."

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