Germany in World Cup victory parade
Published 15/07/2014 | 14:38
At a party 24 years in the making, hundreds of thousands of Germans showed their admiration and adoration for their World Cup winners in a victory parade to the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin today.
The players, in matching black T-shirts bearing "1," lapped up the love by playing up to the estimated 400,000 people packing the "fan mile" in front of the landmark.
Fans began lining the street overnight to welcome home coach Joachim Loew's team and the trophy.
Germany's fourth World Cup, the first since 1990, crowned years of work by Loew to modernise the team and followed near misses at recent tournaments.
"We're all world champions!" Loew told the crowd.
"Of course, it was a long way to the title, and an incredibly tough one in the end. But we're incredibly happy to be here with the fans now."
Mario Goetze, the scorer in the 1-0 win over Argentina in the final on Sunday, was greeted with deafening cheers by the sea of fans waving black, red and gold Germany flags.
Midfielder Toni Kroos led the crowd in a chant of "Miro Klose" - a tribute to veteran striker Miroslav Klose, whose two goals took his World Cup tally to 16 and made him the tournament's all-time leading scorer.
When the players emerged on stage to take their accolades, the fans welcomed each of them with a chant of "football god" - giving Bastian Schweinsteiger, Thomas Mueller, Goetze and Klose the loudest cheers.
There were problems with the sound, meaning most of the players' words were lost to the crowd.
The supporters did not mind, though, and cheered even louder as defender Jerome Boateng, back in his hometown, shouted: "I can't hear you!"
The team plane landed at Tegel Airport in mid-morning after flying low over the "fan mile" - which by then had been packed for hours.
"It's indescribable," fan Till Uhlig, from Hannover, said of the crowds. People travelled to the celebration from all over the country: "They've all taken their holidays to come here. It's absolutely crazy," he said. "We were behind the stage where the bus pulled up. Just incredible.
Berlin resident Katrin Fels, who brought her daughter, said: "We knew it would happen. It was clear from the start of the year that we had the best team. It's perfect, perfect for all generations."