Berlin parties like it’s 1989 after 7-1 thrashing of Brazil
German fans run into the streets in their thousands to celebrate historic victory
German fans at a public viewing in Berlin. Photograph: EPA/Britta Pedersen
It’s 1am in Berlin and they’re partying like it’s 1989. Except this time it’s not the Berlin Wall that’s fallen, but a football icon that’s been smashed: 7-1 against Brazil in the World Cup semifinal and the Berliners can’t believe it.
The mood is euphoric, elation and unfassbar – unbelievable – all at once. Unlike that glorious night in November a quarter of a century ago, the clothing of choice this evening is not stone-washed denim but sweat-stained polyester. The balmy summer air is heavy with the smell of success, linden blossom and cannabis.
“The term historic shouldn’t be used too often, but . . .” cheered the match commentator as he was drowned out by fans cheering Germany’s trouncing of Brazil. Few were left indoors to hear him.
In the German capital, they ran for the streets in their thousands, shedding their German restraint to, as they say in local parlance, “lass die Sau raus”, let their inner pig out. In Berlin, night was turned to day within minutes, the Kurfürstendamm drag through the western city a sea of black-red-and-gold bikinis, flags, badges, face paint and flowers filled up the city’s western boulevard.
“I’m from Poland, but I’m German tonight,” cheered Irena from Poznan, tired and emotional in a German jersey emblazoned “Jögi’s Joker”. Within 20 minutes of the final whistle the leafy Ku’damm boulevard was a parking lot with traffic was at a standstill. Cheering crowds left their cars for a spontaneous street disco, the tune of the evening, Boney M’s “Brown Girl in the Ring” hastily rewritten as “So sehen Sieger aus” – “Victors look like this...”
Berlin’s transport company was leaving nothing to chance. They warned any clueless customers that all buses were cancelled, via a street display, “due to celebrating football fans”. First to race down the Ku’damm were the boy racers with growling exhausts, oversized flags flapping, then the frantic families in people carriers.
A man with a wild look in his eye sat spreadeagled on the bonnet of his cream Mercedes as it raced down the tree-lined street, its delirious driver shouting ”...SCHLAND” as he passed, unable to see where they were going.
The victory is only an hour old but the victory of July 8th, 2014 has already entered the history books, beside the “Miracle of Bern” almost exactly 60 years ago. Then the underdog West Germans beat Hungary on July 4th, 1954 to win the World Cup. This evening the united German team took on the football masters at home – and won in breathtaking style.
In anticipation of great things, Volkswagen already cancelled the evening shift to let workers watch the match. It was a far-sighted triumph of the people’s game over the people’s car. Going by the bangers, flares and cheers of “Finale-oooooh...” there will be no work done and lots of heavy heads in Germany on Wednesday.