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Sunday, 2 September, 2001, 05:08 GMT 06:08 UK
Party falls flat for hosts
A first for the the Olympic Stadium scoreboard
A first for the the Olympic Stadium scoreboard
From BBC Sport Online chief football writer Phil McNulty in Munich.

It was a gesture of German defiance almost as feeble as the efforts of their football team.

Giant Deutschland foam gloves filled the night sky in barely repressed fury as Michael Owen's one-man wrecking mission left Munich's Olympic Stadium shrouded in an air of unreality.

German supporters could barely summon up the energy to display their disgust in a more animated fashion.

Michael Owen salutes the travelling support
That was apart from those who wanted fisticuffs after being taunted beyond endurance by England fans who had waited a lifetime for a night like this.

Not only had England thrashed Germany - they had done it in their own backyard and in front of disbelieving supporters who have gorged themselves on gloating at the old enemy.

England's players were performing party pieces against ragged opponents while the visiting supporters sang every number from the traditional hymn book of the victorious football fan.

"You're not very good....are you Scotland in disguise?...Football's coming home..."

They were all dusted off.

It was all a far cry from the carnival atmosphere Germany had attempted to create before their night turned into shame.

"We are all at a football party, so let's have fun together. You are at the match of the year. The world is watching us."

Oompah band

This was the message delivered in between choruses from the Oompah band we were told came from Munich - but in fact came from Hell.

And it was a message delivered many times. Far too many times.

As parties go it went with a swing if you were English, despite starting with a resounding raspberry and a dodgy welcome when Carsten Jancker gave Germany an early lead.

The invited guests were made more than welcome by hosts displaying a hospitality never previously witnessed, while those who saw their party turned into a wake by England made a very early departure for home.

And it appeared everbody was invited as visitors turned up in the most unlikely places among their German counterparts, and others climbed fences to make their way inside.

England fans in Munich
England fans get the party going at the Olympic Stadium
England's fans made themselves at home in the Olympic Stadium, but this is a venue with an atmosphere so cold it would freeze a party atmosphere.

Many Germans felt they had played into England's hands by staging the game in Munich - and they may have been right.

It is not a football ground. It is an arena built for a major sporting event but is as unsuited to staging a party as it is unsettling the opposition.

The Olympic Stadium has been touched by history and is a world famous structure with its spider's web roof, but all trace of the heart and soul that makes a true football arena have been skillfully removed.

It is open on three sides, allowing what little atmosphere that is created to drift off into the night air.

And it was tough for Germany's fans to be in party mood when they spent much of their time eyeing threatening black skies over the Olympic Park.

And that was before Michael Owen got to work on them.

Humiliation

German fans were filing out well before the end of the humiliation seemingly resigned to their fate and barely raising a voice in hostility against their own team, possibly because they were in shock.

As the rain fell, small pockets of England fans celebrated by passing around a giant banner of the late Bobby Moore holding the World Cup.

Meanwhile, stalls and bars that had done a roaring trade before kick off were as sorry and bedraggled as the German defence.

The party was over.

And next time Germany decide to throw one, they should start by telling upstart gatecrashers like Michael Owen how to behave.


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