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Sports

German Soccer Squad Defends Post-Euro 2008 Party

Germany national team soccer coach Joachim Loew and his players have rejected criticism of a public party in Berlin held after their 0-1 defeat to Spain in the finals of Euro 2008 in July. He said it was for the fans.

The German national squad celebrating in Berlin

The players certainly look as if they're having a good time

The German soccer association's technical director Matthias Sammer said holding such a big party after losing the tournament final sent the wrong signal to younger players.

"It was right to thank the fans, but it gives me bellyache when we allow ourselves to be feted for a sporting defeat," Sammer said. "It's difficult for me to explain that to the under-19s and then get the very last ounce of sporting ambition out of them before a final."

Loew rejected the criticism that the team had set a bad example.

"The event in Berlin was not a victory parade, but a way of saying thanks to our supporters," he told the tabloid Bild newspaper on Thursday, July 31.

Loew celebrates with fans at a public viewing zone in central Berlin, Germany, Monday, June 30, 2008

Loew said fans deserved the party in Berlin

His words were echoed by team members.

"We don't go along to be feted ourselves," defender Philipp Lahm told Bild. "It is just a big thank-you from the players to the fans. It's a nice way of rounding off the European championship or the World Cup whether we win or lose."

Fellow player Marcell Jansen was of a similar opinion.

"It was a team decision to go there," he said. "The fans deserved to see us."

Sammer appeared to be concerned by the style rather than the actual fact of the party, saying he thought it was "natural" that the players, who had been very much isolation for the course of the tournament, should come to bid farewell to the fans.

German soccer association president Theo Zwanziger has stepped in to mediate in the dispute. He announced on Thursday that he would arrange a meeting about the matter. Zwanziger praised the men's cooperation up to now.

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