Germans relive World Cup euphoria

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Germans are reliving the euphoria of the World Cup through a film from a director who followed the team onto the team bus and into the locker room.

Updated: February 25, 2007 11:36 IST
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Germans are reliving the euphoria of the month-long World Cup through a new documentary from a director who followed the German team and manager Juergen Klinsmann onto the team bus and into the locker room. Director Soenke Wortmann received unusual access to make "Germany: A Summer Fairy Tale", spending six-to-eight hours a day with the team to give viewers an inside look that includes Klinsmann's motivational talks to his players. The 108-minute film opened in 100 theaters across Germany on Tuesday and will open in more later in the week. Chancellor Angela Merkel attended the red-carpet premiere at the Berlinale Palast theater at Potsdamer Platz, autographing soccer balls and film posters. Other guests included Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit, German soccer hero and chief World Cup organizer Franz Beckenbauer, team captain Michael Ballack, and current national team manager Joachim Loew, Klinsmann's successor. Earlier in the day, Merkel praised the way Germany hosted the World Cup during her speech on Germany Unity Day, a national holiday marking the reunification of Germany in 1990 at the end of the Cold War. "The world got to know a new Germany," she said. Wortmann, who shot much of the film himself with a hand-held camera, told reporters at the premiere that he was now having trouble getting used to just watching the German national team play on television after spending so much time with them. "It's an unaccustomed thing to see the national team games on television again," he said. The World Cup "changed Germany in a positive way, and I have the feeling the country has become a bit more relaxed," he said. Although Germany finished third, the team far exceeded expectations and delighted fans with its high-powered offence under Klinsmann. Its offensive style of play was seen as an example of a hidebound German institution willing to open up and change, and the tournament helped Germans learn to wave their flag after decades of reticence connected to the legacy of the Nazi regime and World War II. It was also an organisation success, with media speculation about racist attacks and hooliganism failing to materialise. Instead, the tournament became a month-long street party. Wortmann and Klinsmann agreed on a test run during 2005 Confederation Cup to see how the presence of the film team would affect the players. After that experience turned out well, the project got a green light. Wortmann, a former player in Germany's second division who made an earlier feature film, "The Miracle of Bern" about Germany's 1954 World Cup championship team, said Klinsmann imposed no limits on what he could shoot while he was with the team. The players liked the film and that "for me it was beautiful to feel how touched and moved the players were" when they saw it, he said. (AP)

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