World Cup 2014: Berlin erupts in victory after 120 nail-biting minutes

Black-red-and-gold facepaint smudged by tears of elation as crowds spill onto the streets in triumph after final whistle

By midnight, as fireworks erupted above the Brandenburg Gate, the crowds were singing the old German football chant "Schön, wie ist das schön, sowas hat man lange nicht gesehen": "Beautiful, how beautiful, how long has been since we've seen such a thing".

It had been 24 years, to be exact: Germany had won the biggest tournament in football for the fourth time, but for the first since the country was reunified in 1990.

Of course there was random hugging, flag-waving, singing and horn-beeping on the streets of the capital. Many of the major roads were gridlocked by the cars of people streaming into the centre. But after a 120 minutes of nail biting, the mood was above all one of elation.

At Blau-Weiss Berolina FC, a seventh division club in the heart of the capital, someone had placed a bottle of schnapps on the counter at the club bar before kick off, shaped to look like the World Cup trophy. But as the night progressed, many of the regulars began to worry that they'd have to seek solace in the contents of the novelty replica, rather than the real thing.

For much of the day, the skies over the capital had kept on switching between glorious sunshine and biblical downpours, as if someone up there couldn't quite make up their mind if this was going to be Germany's lucky day or not.

At the start of the match, the omens didn't look promising. Inside the club bar, tension was mounting as Argentina's superstar Lionel Messi went on one lung-busting run after another through German lines. Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer was the player the locals could cheer. "This isn't good for my nerves", said the barkeeper.

Heads were in hands when it looked like Argentina had scored. A sigh, a scream of relief rang through Berlin as the referee's assistant ruled it offside. "This isn't going to end well", said the barman.

His friend, the club referee, tried to reassure him. "We always start badly. And remember how we shackled Maradona in 1990?" Messi didn't look shackled, worried the barman. Argentina looked dangerous on the break, and Germany's yellow cards were piling up.

But in the second half, confidence levels rose. Messi scuffed a shot, then misplaced a pass. "That's laughable", one man kept on shouting. "My grandmother is better than that", his teenage son backed him up.

Germany began to look more solid at the back, more determined to force their luck. "Now we're going to win it", a woman whispered as the game went to extra time. Ten minutes later, Germany's Messi Mario Götze scored the winner, and crowd inside Blau-Weiss Berolina erupted. Black-red-and-gold facepaint was smudged by sweat and tears. When the final whistle blew, the barman handed out free shots from the World Cup bottle for the exhausted regulars. "Who's Brazilian now?", he said.

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