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Far from home, German fans in Dunedin lived every kick of a tense World Cup final. Timothy Brown reports.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
While A Tale of Two Cities was published 71 years before the inaugural Fifa World Cup, one imagines Charles Dickens had a premonition of the tense, conflicting emotion of a World Cup final when he wrote the line.
As Lionel Messi lined up a free kick in injury time during the second half of extra time, almost the entire crowd which filled Ratbags Bar, in Dunedin, had their hands clasped together under their chins as if in prayer.
As the kick sailed well over the crossbar, the German contingent in the bar erupted, screaming in jubilation, clapping their hands and hugging each other.
Maik Bottcher, of Germany, summed up their feeling.
''It's unbelievable,'' he said, overcome with emotion.
''Since 2006 [when Germany hosted the tournament] we waited for this. It's unbelievable - I can't describe it.''
He and several friends from Germany gathered in the bar at 7am to watch their beloved Deutsche Adler (German eagles).
As the game entered extra time, supporters from both sides chewed their nails, emptied their glasses of beer and whispered prayers.
But when German midfielder Mario Gotze scored in the 113th minute, it was Mr Bottcher and his friends who sprang from their seats and thrust their fists in the air in celebration.
Mr Bottcher said his friends had plans for the rest of the day.
''We will party for the whole day,'' he said.
''For the rest of the week,'' his friend Martin Ritter added.
''No, for the rest of the [next] four years,'' another friend, Paul Hausburg, said.
For Argentina fan Malcolm Hayes it was harder to be happy, but he was philosophical.
''I'm super disappointed, but I'm so glad that both teams were neck and neck.''
There was no time for upset, however, as he had to attend university and there was little sympathy from German fans, who broke into chanting after the match.