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Last Updated: Monday, 10 July 2006, 08:42 GMT 09:42 UK
European press review: World Cup
European Press

Newspapers in Italy are in a jubilant mood after its football team beat France to win the World Cup final. In France, there's a sense of bitter disappointment, mixed with disbelief over the unworthy end to the career of team captain Zinedine Zidane.

Meanwhile, the press in the host country praises the performance of its national team during what it hails as a 'majestic summer'.

Winners and losers

Italy's main papers carry photos of a euphoric national football team, their captain holding the World Cup aloft after yesterday's victory over France.

"World champions!!!!!" shouts La Stampa.

"It's all true! Champions of the world," trumpets a delighted Gazzetta Dello Sport.

"Italy explodes with joy," reads a headline in Corriere Della Sera.

"Thousands of people thronged the streets of the capital to celebrate Italy's victory," it reports.
Despite the disappointment of the final failure, France has regained its place among the elite of world football
La Tribune

"Merry-go-rounds of cars paralysed traffic... The historic centre, guarded by the security forces, was invaded by fans."

The paper also reports that Italian President Giorgio Napolitano was among the first to congratulate the winning team. He joined in and sang along with them in their changing rooms at the Berlin stadium.

'Outrageous'

French papers, meanwhile, are understandably muted.

"Cruel" is the single word on the front page of Liberation, above a photo of captain Zinedine Zidane pictured from behind, clasping the head with which he butted an Italian player.

"The Blues fell... to a superb Italian team. Without Zidane, quite rightly sent off in the 110th minute for an outrageous head-butt - the last move we shall see from him on a football field," the paper says.

"The hero of a whole nation ended the adventure with an unspeakable gesture... and a red card in the 110th minute," says best-selling regional daily Ouest-France.

"We can still scarcely believe that this final step of his career as an artist is to have been this assault. He cannot end things this way, it's impossible. This morning the utter disbelief still persists," writes Le Parisien.

La Tribune seeks to put on a brave face.

The national team's performance over the whole competition was "exceptional", says the paper.

"Despite the disappointment of the final failure, France has regained its place in the elite of world football," it says.

National hero

German papers seem pretty satisfied, on the whole, with their team's third place in the championship.

Coach Juergen Klinsmann, who was the target of much flak before the tournament started, is seen to have done a good job for his country.
It is one of Klinsmann's most remarkable achievements that now, at the moment of success, he has not sought revenge
Der Tagesspiegel

A cartoon in Der Tagesspiegel shows a stern Vice-Chancellor Franz Muentefering telling Chancellor Angela Merkel: "Tax increases?! Not with me, Frau Merkel!!"

A diffident Merkel replies: "I only wanted it for Klinsmann...!" A suddenly transformed Muentefering warmly embraces Merkel with the words: "But, Angie, why didn't you say so straight away?!?"

A commentary in the same paper, entitled "A thousand, thousand, thousand thanks", also pays tribute to Klinsmann, in the context of Merkel's high-profile presence at Germany's World Cup games.

"It is one of Klinsmann's most remarkable achievements that now, at the moment of success, he has not sought revenge for the many humiliations he has had to suffer," it says.

"Not once has he spoken of satisfaction, as if this emotion really was alien to him," it adds.

"But Klinsmann has not forgotten who stood by him before. At the victory celebration in Stuttgart he bent down to Angela Merkel and kissed her on both cheeks, saying 'thank you'."

'Majestic summer'

The paper concludes that the national team can now go off on holiday with the feeling of having experienced a majestic summer, "thanks to Klinsmann".

"It is hard now to imagine that Klinsmann's team can continue without Klinsmann," it adds.
The experience shows that we can do things differently, that we can be friendly and relaxed - and that's saying a great deal
Frankfurter Rundschau

Berliner Zeitung says the tournament has boosted the German economy, with breweries, shops, hotels and the railways all benefiting from a big upturn in business.

But according to Frankfurter Rundschau, it is the country's morale which has been boosted.

"What remains after the excitement?" it asks.

"The experience that we can do things differently, that we can be friendly and relaxed. And that's saying a great deal."

The Austrian paper Der Standard agrees.

"What will remain?" it asks.

"The memory of relatively carefree summer weeks, in which the Germans have presented themselves as good and joyful hosts.

Summer weeks which have shown that, given timely and proper preparations, mass events with conflict potential can be staged peacefully, without martial demonstrations of force, without resort to the Bundeswehr."

'Conservative' game

The paper is less happy about the nature of the football played during the tournament.

"These championships have been marked by outstanding players, but not where they were wanted, where they were hoped for - amongst the forwards," it says.
[The World Cup] reflected the triumph of conservatism - few young players stood out among the veterans
El Pais

"The determining figures have stood in goal, in the inner defence and in the defensive midfield."

"And they sat on the trainers' bench," it adds, referring in particular to Mr Klinsmann.

Even so, the paper still expects a good Euro 2008 and World Cup 2010.

"And one will be satisfied if the tournaments are half as good as the World Cup of 2006 - as a peaceful festival which the football has not spoilt," it concludes.

Spain's El Pais says this year's World Cup was not spectacular as far as the game was concerned.

"It reflected the triumph of conservatism," the paper says. "Few young players stood out among the veterans."

It represented victory for the EU, it adds - citing the four semi-finalists: Italy, France, Germany and Portugal - but failure for Brazil and Argentina.

"Now it is Africa's turn," the paper concludes, noting that the continent will for the first time host the next World Cup, in South Africa in 2010.

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.



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