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Sunday, 30 June, 2002, 13:29 GMT 14:29 UK

Media pride softens the blow

By BBC Monitoring
in Caversham

The German media were unanimous and magnaminous in defeat on Sunday: the better team won.

Many German newspapers provided minute-by-minute commentary on their websites.

At half-time, the general consensus was that Brazil had had the better chances but the Germans were still very much in with a chance.

" Congratulations to Brazil - you deserved it "
Focus magazine

But, after the first Ronaldo goal, everything changed.

Tabloid Bild could not believe that Germany's hero, goalkeeper Oliver Kahn, had fumbled the ball in front of the Brazil striker.

"It was his first mistake in the tournament. How bitter!"

Munich's Focus magazine agreed. "That's a shock. We're really sorry for Olli. But don't hang your head! Without you we wouldn't be in the final in the first place."

Focus urged the Germans on: "Fight, fight - it still isn't lost!"

But, when the second Ronaldo goal came, the newspapers realised that the writing was on the wall.

Football magazine Kicker said Ronaldo was unchallenged as he guided the ball into the lower right-hand corner of the net.

" Heads up, Germany - we're still proud of you "
Bild website

"This time, Kahn didn't have a chance."

Bild was close to resignation. "Is that the decider?" it asked.

And Focus realised it was time to give up hope. "Even a belief in miracles won't help us now," it said.

It had sympathy for Germany manager Rudi Voeller: "Poor, poor Rudi. But you're still the best."

At the final whistle, there was no doubt across the German press. "Congratulations to Brazil, you deserved it!" Focus said.

Bild had a pat-on-the-back for the Germans: "Thanks, lads, for this fantastic World Cup and for playing really well in the final.

"Heads up, we're still proud of you."

Kicker summed it all up: "Germany put in its best performance of the tournament, but a crucial mistake by goalie Kahn gave the Brazilians a decisive advantage."


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