Germany made it to number two in World Cup soccer Sunday, losing 2-0 to Brazil. While there is disappointment, the general feeling in Germany seems to be that the South American side deserved to win.
Right to the last few minutes of the game, when Brazilian striker Ronaldo scored his second goal of the match, German fans glued to their radio and TV sets were still hoping for an equalizer that might give them the chance of winning the cup.
But when that second goal went in, there was no rancor. Commentators on radio and television seemed glad for the Brazilian star, who came back from an extended injury as well as from taking the blame for Brazil's defeat in the 1998 World Cup in France.
"Of course it's disappointing," said German manager Rudi Voellert ub an interview with German public television, "But there's no shame losing to Brazil."
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and President Johannes Rau were in the stadium to watch the match, as was German opposition leader Edmond Stoiber, who hopes to unseat the chancellor in elections later this year.
But it was Mr. Schroeder who took the commiserating handshake from his Japanese counterpart, Junichiro Koizumi.
You could see the disappointment clearly enough on the face of German team captain and goalkeeper Oliver Kahn as he slid down the goalpost to sit on the ground like a broken man at the end of the game.
Yet, so far, there have been no recriminations. Germans still view him has the best goalkeeper in the tournament and footballer of the year. And for German national pride, the title Vice Champions of the World seems to satisfy the fans.