Cheers, desolation at World Cup outcome

Mario Goetze's goal in extra time gave Germany its first World Cup title in 24 years and set off a raucous celebration on the 700 block of South Street, where fans had gathered to watch the game outside Brauhaus Schmitz. Germany won its fourth World Cup title in its eighth final. Soccer star Lionel Messi remained in the shadow of his compatriot Diego Maradona, who led Argentina to the 1986 title.
Mario Goetze's goal in extra time gave Germany its first World Cup title in 24 years and set off a raucous celebration on the 700 block of South Street, where fans had gathered to watch the game outside Brauhaus Schmitz. Germany won its fourth World Cup title in its eighth final. Soccer star Lionel Messi remained in the shadow of his compatriot Diego Maradona, who led Argentina to the 1986 title. (MICHAEL WIRTZ / Staff Photographer)
Posted: July 15, 2014

After nearly two hours of grinding, scoreless soccer between Germany and Argentina on Sunday, deep into the second period of overtime in the World Cup, Germany's Mario Goetze finally knocked in a goal.

A huge crowd watching a huge screen TV in the middle of the closed 700 block of South Street erupted with cheers.

And then began to chant:

"Deutschland!"

"Deutschland!"

"Deutschland!"

The massive block party, organized by Brauhaus Schmitz, a restaurant and beer hall on the block and the unofficial epicenter of German soccer fandom in Philadelphia, showered itself with confetti.

A few moments later, the game ended, Germany victorious by the skin of its teeth.

Arms on South Street shot up toward the sky.

Small red, black, and yellow German flags waved wildly.

A huge part of the crowd, largely people in their 20s, stopped texting and Snapchatting and looked at one another, smiling.

Tears streamed down faces painted red, black, and yellow.

People clapped. They hugged.

Christoph Johnson, 22, a German student studying at West Chester University, said that the feeling instilled by the German team's victory was delicious.

"I feel jubilation, absolute jubilation," he said. Johnson had a German flag tied about his shoulders, trailing away like a cape.

"I'm borderline tears right now," he said. "It was a tight game the entire time, too intense for my liking."

At least several thousand people crowded the block throughout the afternoon drinking enormous amounts of beer and eating hot dogs, sausages, and other hearty fare fit for beer hall life.

"We are huge, huge soccer fans here at Brauhaus Schmitz and have been on the edge of our seats," chef Jeremy Nolan had said earlier.

"I heard this place was the place to be for the World Cup," said Kelsey Dochelli, 23, of Society Hill, standing in the middle of South Street. Arrayed about her were people with German scarves, German flag tattoos, German face paint. A huge German flag festooned Brauhaus Schmitz, fluttering in the hot wind.

Not surprisingly, a large part, if not all of the crowd, supported the German team, though a smattering of cheers could be heard when Argentina came close to scoring in the first half.

Dochelli's grandparents came from Germany, she said. Her friend Jeff Calhoun, 23, said his great-grandparents hailed from Germany.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 533,383 people of German descent in the eight-county metropolitan Philadelphia region; only 2,909 can trace their roots to Argentina.

Dejection was rampant at the Philadelphia Argentine Tango School on the 2000 block of Frankford Avenue. About 40 people gathered there to root for their team.

They ended on desolation row.

Meredith Klein, who founded and directs the school, where two televisions were set up to view the game, said she saw Germany eliminate Argentina in the past two World Cups.

"This time I really thought it could be different," she said, sighing. "It nearly was. It could have gone either way."

On South Street, Brandon Ciaudelli, 25, from West Philadelphia, said he was "a quarter" German. "I studied abroad in Germany in 2006 and fell in love with the culture, the language, everything," he said, sporting a German flag cape.

He attended several World Cup games in Germany in 2006 - the tournament was held there that year; this year it was in Brazil - and found the experience electric.

"I thought this [block party] would be an amazing opportunity to relive that," he said.

At the tango school on Frankford Avenue, the mood was muted at the close of the disheartening game.

Guest artist Andres Amarilla, who was born in Buenos Aires, was too sad to comment.

But not everyone at the block party was a soccer fanatic, however.

Dave Sljuka, 26, from Manayunk, said that he liked soccer, but that he essentially wanted to "drink some beers and have a good time." He said he was Serbian and "one-eighth German.

"I like the German women," he added.

Sljuka turned reflective as he contemplated the crowd.

"I think it boils down to culturalism and nationalism," he said, considering the waving flags and face-painted fans.

"Whoever wins, it doesn't matter. We're all going to die. Life will go on, believe it or not."


Staff writer Michael Matza contributed to this article.


ssalisbury@phillynews.com

215-854-5594 @SPSalisbury

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|