German newspapers on Thursday mourned the country’s semifinal loss to Spain and wondered what happened to the scintillating team that captured the nation’s hearts with their goal-filled run to the last four.
There was a mixture of admiration for Spain’s dominance in Wednesday’s match in Durban but also a sense of bewilderment about what suddenly went so wrong for a side that put four goals past England and then Argentina in the previous two rounds.
“Aus der Traum” (The Dream is Over), the best-selling daily Bild wrote in giant letters on its front page. “Caramba, were Spain good! They deserved to win. But we’re proud of our lads.”
In its match analysis, the paper said: “We lacked courage and cleverness. We didn’t see any of the ‘made-in-Germany’ football that had so enthralled the world in the previous matches. Too much respect for the big names? Or were our heroes crippled by the high expectations?”
The conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) newspaper also put it succinctly in its page one banner headline: “Spain too strong, Germany now aims for third place.”
FAZ columnist Michael Horeni wrote: “Spain were too strong an opponent to allow Germany, in their 12th semifinal appearance, to advance to a World Cup final for an eighth time.
“In the duel, Germany were quickly put on the defensive and never able to unleash their refreshing style of attacking football that worked so well against England and Argentina. The Spanish original was simply better than the young challengers.”
Der Tagesspiegel in Berlin, like many newspapers, splashed pictures of German fans weeping uncontrollably after the match. Some 350,000 supporters watched on giant screens in central Berlin with another 50,000 at Munich’s Olympic Stadium.