German newspapers on Monday praised Brazil’s victory in the World Cup final but paid special tribute to German captain Oliver Kahn, whose goalkeeping error allowed the Samba Kings to open the scoring.
Kahn “made one single mistake during the World Cup,” lamented the popular daily Bild, noting that his failure to hold Rivaldo’s shot led to Ronaldo’s first goal in the 67th minute.
That rebound “hit the heart of German football,” Bild said.
Not one for revenge this time, the most widely read daily in Germany dedicated its page three to the wave of Samba dancing that invaded the streets of Berlin after Sunday’s match.
“The God of Football must be Brazilian,” said Bild, which only had some simple advice for Ronaldo: “Change hairdresser.”
The Munich daily Suddeutsche Zeitung, also had a special thought for Kahn, who before the final had only let in one goal and was named best keeper of the competition.
“What happened to Kahn, perhaps the best goalkeeper in football history, was a tragic accident similar to those that happen to all who tend goal,” the paper said. “Unfortunately that fault was severely punished,” it said.
Frankfurter Rundschau was more analytical about the 2-0 defeat. “Brazil reduces German dreams to dust,” the center-left daily headlined.
“During this World Cup, no other team (besides Germany) succeeded with such perfection in recognizing its own weaknesses, analyzing them concretely and drawing the right conclusions,” the paper said.
“The Mannschaft lost in a human way and that makes them more likeable,” Berlin’s Tagesspiegel said. “Even its goalkeeper, a so-called robot with facial features carved from stone, contributed to the defeat. Oliver Kahn too is only a man.”
For the conservative Die Welt, the players were simply: “Germany vice-champions of the world.”
“Being champions would have helped us like never before. Given unemployment, economic recession… and the breakdown of reform, some goals would have been worth gold,” it wrote.
“But it is no shame to lose to Brazil, who play the world’s best football. The Mannschaft can return home with their head held high,” Die Welt concluded.
The Berliner Zeitung paid hommage to German coach Rudi Voller. “He made sure that none of the stars stood out too much,” and that “everyone played for the team rather than himself.”
The newspaper said that Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder could win the elections in September if he follows Voller’s example because Schroeder’s “ego uses its elbows a little too much.”