Germany's patchy progress sparks doubts back home

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The Independent Online

The spirit of the 2006 World Cup that Germany hosted has begun to re-emerge as 300,000 spectators packed a public viewing area at Berlin's Victory Column to watch their team squeak into the second round.

Many remain cautious about their team's prospects, however, with a narrow 1-0 win against Ghana on Wednesday setting up a last 16 clash against old rivals England on Sunday. "The main thing is that we're through," said Peter Labude, a fan summing up the nation's mood during a post-match victory parade of honking cars in Berlin.

German newspaper headlines and television commentators said Germany were lucky to advance with sub-par performances. "We made it – but did we have our jitters," wrote Bild, the country's best-selling daily. "Ozil provides deliverance," wrote Die Welt, toasting the new hero Mesut Ozil, a young German of Turkish descent and scorer of the winner against Ghana.

Der Spiegel suggested the young German side so full of confidence before the World Cup looked shattered as they stumbled over the line against Ghana. "We spoke of youthful talent before the World Cup and it was an impressive start against Australia followed by an unlucky defeat to Serbia – but still with fast and powerful football. But against Ghana we looked like old men," it said.

Before Ozil opted to play for Germany, Turks in Germany's 1.7m strong ethnic community played for Turkey. His heroics in Johannesburg will have done wonders for integration.

The former Germany midfielder Günter Netzer, now a TV pundit, said Germany will not progress unless they raise their game. "They all know they'll need a better performance against England," he said. That's not going to be good enough to beat England."

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