Germans swept up in euphoria
Germany celebrate (Twitter)
Berlin - Germany was swept up in a wave of red, black and gold World Cup euphoria on Wednesday after its record 7-1 victory over Brazil, almost as though the mighty "Mannschaft" were already world champions.
"Stunning" and "speechless" wrote media commentators, the morning after the national team's crushing defeat of the hosts, sending hopes soaring for an end to the 24-year wait for a fourth World Cup title.
Shrugging off Tuesday's intermittent storms, tens of thousands of fans at Berlin's "fan mile" at the historic Brandenburg Gate had watched almost in joyful disbelief as their heroes scored seven times -- five of them in 18 madcap minutes in the first-half.
Waving flags or draped in the national colours as they erupted into cheers, fans held high T-shirts emblazoned already with "world champion".
Despite the World Cup final still being five days away and Germany's opponents not yet even decided between the Netherlands or Argentina, lines of cars noisily snaked through the streets of the capital with horns and music blaring, as other cities saw similar late-night celebrations.
Never normally at a loss about what it wants to say on issues, Germany's top-selling Bild simply splashed "There are no words" on its early-edition front page.
It devoted its first six full pages to close-up photos of German players from the match at Belo Horizonte with each scorer's name next to the order of their goals.
Die Welt described the game as "incomprehensible" and said "the whole football world is speechless", while news weekly Spiegel online headlined "Germany's triumph: bang, bang, bang!".- 'On to Rio' -
Chancellor Angela Merkel said she shared global opinion "that it was a very good game", which, she said she believed "already almost deserves the term historic".
"I wish the team a great deal of strength and concentration for the upcoming challenge," she told reporters.
Well known as a football fan and often photographed in the stands with her arms in the air celebrating goals, Merkel will travel with President Joachim Gauck to Rio for Sunday's final, the president's office announced.
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier tweeted "What a game! On to Rio de Janeiro!" before, diplomatically, adding his thanks to the "great" Brazilian hosts.
"The best German performance ever in a World Cup!! Simply fantastic!!" tweeted 1990 World Cup winning striker Jurgen Klinsmann, who coached Germany to third place at the 2006 finals and saw his present side the United States beaten 1-0 by the Germans in the group stage.
German legend Franz Beckenbauer, who won the World Cup as a player in 1974 and as a coach in 1990, praised Germany coach Joachim Loew's team-building.
"The final will certainly be a different match. But they have managed one thing: respect for the team has become even greater," he said on Sky Sport News.
Amid the jubilation and disbelief, several voices however cautioned against over-confidence.
"The chances are good for us," Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, who is also responsible for sport, said, on a visit to Italy, but adding: "Everyone should however keep their feet on the ground."
International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach meanwhile warned against complacency.
"A final starts at 0-0, and there's no reason to be complacent. The Mannschaft can be confident, but not complacent," the German said in the Swiss city of Lausanne, headquarters of the IOC.
In a night of firsts, Germany's victory against Brazil attracted a record 32.6 million TV viewers in the country of around 80 million, the specialist media site Meedia said, making it the biggest-ever TV audience figure in the football-mad country.
And social networking site Twitter also beat all records of activity for a sporting event with a total of 35.6 million tweets were sent during the match, smashing the previous mark set at the Super Bowl in February.
Many couldn't refrain from World War II references, including a jokey riff on the classic line from 1970s British TV series "Fawlty Towers" whose main character was played by John Cleese -- "Don't mention the Tor (goal)".