But World Cup winners Germany yesterday touched down on home soil to a hero’s welcome as hundreds of thousands turned out for their victory parade.
Fans lined the streets of Berlin as the team – who beat Argentina 1-0 in Sunday’s final – travelled on an open-top bus emblazoned with the years they have won the competition – 1954, 1974, 1990 and 2014.
A huge crowd then greeted them as they arrived at the Brandenburg Gate.
In an eccentric performance that was a far cry from the brilliantly clinical way in which they had dismantled Brazil 7-1 in the semi-final a week earlier, the players showed off the cup on a large stage while performing an impromptu dance complete with air guitar.
Coach Joachim Loew paid tribute to his team and the German people for their part in the victory.
“For our sakes the fans suffered with us. They were nervous with us. In the end they cheered with us. Without you we would not be here,” he said.
Mario Goetze, the man who scored the winning goal on Sunday, said the experience of winning the cup was “dreamlike”.