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Section 1: 'The night of tears'
July 5th, 2006 3:09PM


Germany's dream of winning a fourth World Cup title ended Tuesday night when it fell to Italy, 2-0, in overtime in the semifinals of the 2006 World Cup.

All across Germany, fans were glued to the game, hoping that the improbable run of Juergen Klinsmann's team would continue, and a lot of tears were shed when Fabio Grosso and Alessandro Del Piero scored in the last 90 seconds of overtime to send the Azzurri into Sunday's final.

The television ratings reached a record 29.7 million viewers, and millions more fans watched on giant screens at Fan Fests and other public gatherings. More than one million fans attended the Fan Fest in Berlin.

"The night of tears" was the front-page headline in the Berlin tabloid BZ.

"This World Cup has changed the emotional state of this country," the paper wrote. "The dream of victory has died, but Germany still won, because we will never forget these days, our pride and the joyful black, red and gold and the carefree spirit of the heroes surrounding Klinsmann."

German President Horst Koehler praised Klinsmann's players for their success on the field and helping bring a new sense of national pride among Germans.

"You still played your way into the hearts of the Germans," the president wrote in a letter the team. "Our country has found a new role model in its national soccer team, and you won Germany many new friends abroad."

Somalis killed in World Cup viewing protests

The owner of movie theater in Dusa Mareb, Somalia, and a young girl were killed and four other people were injured when Somali Islamist militia fired shots in the air in an attempt to disperse soccer fans demanding to watch Tuesday's World Cup semifinal between Germany and Italy.

The Islamists, who recently took control of Mogadishu and much of southern Somalia, have cracked down on public viewing of soccer games and Western movies in an attempt to restore order to the lawless country and cut down on chewing of the mildly narcotic qat leaf.

Militamen tried to shut down the cinema in Dusa Mareb showing the Germany-Itay game and they fired shots in the air when fans started to protest. Islamist leaders blamed the incident on overzealous militiamen.

The Taliban-style crackdown has included forcing women to cover their faces and whipping men watching the World Cup.

Lavolpe steps down as Mexico coach

Argentine Ricardo Lavolpe has quit as Mexico's national team coach following the Tri's second-round exit -- its fourth straight elimination in the first knockout stage.

Mexican soccer federation president Alberto de la Torre said Lavolpe was looking to coach a European team after having spent the last 30 years in Mexico. Lavolpe succeeded Javier Aguirre as coach in 2002. Aguirre has gone on to have a very successful coaching career in Spain.

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