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Sunday, 18 June, 2000, 14:32 GMT 15:32 UK
German embassy staff take defeat in their stride
As the hype accompanying the build-up to the England v Germany clash evaporated, BBC Online's Charles McFaulds watches the match with members of the German Embassy.
The German Ambassador was there but no fancy chocolates had been laid on for this party.
Just members of the German Embassy staff and a splattering of English folk to liven the atmosphere a tad more, not that it was required.
Face paint was optional but prevalent as people entered into the spirit of things, and mini flags were waved with much enthusiasm.
Although confidence was lacking among many German nationals prior to England's 1-0 victory, there was still some bravado to be found.
"I think Germany win will obviously," Olaf Schultz said with some optimism.
"I know we did not play well in our first match, but the German national team tend to get results whenever we have to."
His friend Mark Gunter was less optimistic though: "My prediction is a draw. But it won't be a penalty shoot-out which is a good thing for England!"
Julia Gross was even more staid with her premonition: "I think England will win. It's not the best German team England have played.
"I don't think the majority of German people are confident because of all the stuff that is going on in the German camp."
Although Julia was uncommitted on the Lothar Matthaus issue, the veteran player appeared to have support among the others.
"I think it's fine that he is in the team. He's still good enough to play there," Olaf said.
Mark agreed, "He's still a good player, so I think it's OK that he's in the team."
I wondered if Matthaus was perhaps in danger of ruining his reputation as an all-time-great by playing too long at the top level.
"I agree at 39 he's a bit old. On the other hand maybe we can benefit from his experience," Mark concluded.
Certainly Matthaus did not look out of sorts as the game got under way, and developed into a tense encounter.
An upbeat atmosphere prevailed, and the German contingent were spirited as their team took the early initiative.
A moment of brief silence did occur when Alan Shearer scored, but the English were naturally happy to enter into the party spirit themselves.
However, the German's were philosophical in defeat, and there was no seeking scapegoats despite their obvious disappointment.
Olaf said: "I think they had three good chances and they took one. Germany had two chances but couldn't score. So England deserved to win."
"This time England had the little bit of luck that Germany normally get against them," Mark added.
German Ambassador Hans Friedrik Von Ploetz was typically diplomatic about the outcome.
"The most important thing is that we saw a good match. Two teams that were much better than in their first games."
Will this be good for relations between the countries, I wondered, given some of the bile splashed across English tabloids in recent times.
Hans was in London during Euro 96, but has noticed a change in the tabloid approach in the build-up to this match.
"I think we have definitely moved into the 21st century. We know the history but, it's history."
Let's hope that lessons are learned, and the English have a new historical moment to recall. One in which they alone created in Charleroi.
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