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Monday, 1 July, 2002, 17:18 GMT 18:18 UK

Germany greeted by partying fans

Germany were greeted by a rousing welcome from thousands of fans on their return home from the World Cup.

The team lost 2-0 to Brazil in the final but that did not stop a fervent German public from giving the squad a heroes welcome.

Only a small crowd were allowed onto the landing field to cheer the team off the plane at Frankfurt airport.

" We've brought a lot of joy to the Germans "
German keeper Oliver Kahn

But the buses taking the squad into town were soon caught up by a sea of waving German flags and fans singing the national anthem.

Supporters lined the streets as the players and officials were taken to Frankfurt city hall for an official reception.

Joyous fans crammed into the Roemer square outside and police refused to let 8,000 fans into the overflowing square.

Goalkeeper Oliver Kahn was the first person off the plane and, despite his disapoointment at a mistake which led to Brazil's first goal, he was loudly cheered by fans watching live on television in the Roemer square.

"It's not about me, it's about what this team has achieved - we've brought a lot of joy to the Germans," said Kahn.

Germany were given little chance of any success prior to the World Cup and fans were ecstatic that the team restored their ailing reputation by reaching the final.

"We were winners just by reaching the final - who wouldhave expected it?" said on supporter. "Losing to Brazil is no shame."

The banners and placards echoed the fans' sentiments.

One read: 'Too bad we lost-but you were terrific,' while another was aimed at German coach Rudi Voeller and said: 'Rud-ii, we love you.'

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