Germany World Cup heroes return to huge fan party

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Germany World Cup heroes return to huge fan party
The German soccer squad arrives in central Berlin Tuesday, July 15, 2014. Germany's World Cup-winning team has returned home from Brazil to celebrate the country'€™s fourth title with huge crowds of fans. The team'€™s Boeing 747 touched down at Berlin's Tegel airport mid-morning Tuesday after flying a lap of honor over the 'fan mile'€ in front of the landmark Brandenburg Gate. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
Construction workers cheer, as the German soccer squad arrives in central Berlin Tuesday, July 15, 2014. Germany'€™s World Cup-winning team has returned home from Brazil to celebrate the country'€™s fourth title with huge crowds of fans. The team's Boeing 747 touched down at Berlin'€™s Tegel airport mid-morning Tuesday after flying a lap of honor over the "fan mile"€ in front of the landmark Brandenburg Gate. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
Germany's goalie Manuel Neuer, left, and Bastian Schweinsteiger cheer and celebrate with the trophy, on stage during the welcome reception for Germany's national soccer team in front of the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, Germany, Tuesday July 15, 2014. Germany's World Cup winners shared their fourth title with hundreds of thousands of fans by parading the trophy through cheering throngs to celebrate at the Brandenburg Gate on Tuesday. An estimated 400,000 people packed the "fan mile" in front of the Berlin landmark to welcome home coach Joachim Loew's team and the trophy --€” which returned to Germany for the first time in 24 years. (AP Photo/dpa, Michael Kappeler)
The German soccer squad arrives in central Berlin Tuesday, July 15, 2014. Germany's World Cup-winning team has returned home from Brazil to celebrate the country'€™s fourth title with huge crowds of fans.
The players of German national soccer team with Lukas Podolski, right, Per Mertesacke, left, and Thomas Mueller, celebrate in Berlin Tuesday, July 15, 2014. Germany beat Argentina 1-0 on Sunday to win its fourth World Cup title. Germany's World Cup winners shared their fourth title with hundreds of thousands of fans by parading the trophy through cheering throngs to celebrate at the Brandenburg Gate on Tuesday. An estimated 400,000 people packed the "fan mile" in front of the Berlin landmark to welcome home coach Joachim Loew's team and the trophy -- which returned to Germany for the first time in 24 years.(AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
German soccer players Mario Goetze, left, Julian Draxler, center, and Kevin GroŸkreutz celebrate in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Tuesday July 15, 2014. Germany's World Cup winners shared their fourth title with hundreds of thousands of fans by parading the trophy through cheering throngs to celebrate at the Brandenburg Gate on Tuesday. An estimated 400,000 people packed the "fan mile" in front of the Berlin landmark to welcome home coach Joachim Loew's team and the trophy --€” which returned to Germany for the first time in 24 years. (AP Photo/Hendrik Schmidt)
Assistant coach Hans-Dieter Flick, left, and German national soccer coach Joachim Loew arrive with the squad from Brazil at Tegel airport in Berlin, Tuesday July 15, 2014. Germany beat Argentina 1-0 on Sunday to win its fourth World Cup title. (AP Photo / Karina Hessland, pool)
Singer Helene Fischer, left, performs during a fan party after the arrival of the German national soccer team in Berlin Tuesday, July 15, 2014. Germany beat Argentina 1-0 on Sunday to win its fourth World Cup title. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)
Mario Goetze speaks to the fans during a party at the Brandenburg gate after the arrival of the German national soccer team in Berlin Tuesday, July 15, 2014. Germany beat Argentina 1-0 on Sunday to win its fourth World Cup title. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
BERLIN, GERMANY - JULY 15: Per Mertesacker celebrates on stage at the German team victory ceremony July 15, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. Germany won the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil match against Argentina in Rio de Janeiro on July 13. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Bongarts/Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - JULY 15: The German team arrives at Brandenburg Gate to celebrate on stage at the German team victory ceremony July 15, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. Germany won the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil match against Argentina in Rio de Janeiro on July 13. (Photo by Matthias Nareyek/Bongarts/Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - JULY 15: Fans kiss an imitation of the World Cup at the German team victory ceremony July 15, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. Germany won the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil match against Argentina in Rio de Janeiro on July 13. (Photo by Karina Hessland/Bongarts/Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - JULY 15: Fans celebrate in front of the Brandenburger Tor at the German team victory ceremony July 15, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. Germany won the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil match against Argentina in Rio de Janeiro on July 13. (Photo by Karina Hessland/Bongarts/Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - JULY 15: Ron-Robert Zieler, Jerome Boateng, Sami Khedira and Per Mertesacker wait behind the stage at the German team victory ceremony July 15, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. Germany won the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil match against Argentina in Rio de Janeiro on July 13. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Bongarts/Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - JULY 15: Mario Goetze and Lukas Podolski of Germany celebrate on stage at the German team victory ceremony July 15, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. Germany won the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil match against Argentina in Rio de Janeiro on July 13. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Bongarts/Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - JULY 15: Lukas Podolski (L) and Kevin Grosskreutz celebrate on stage at the German team victory ceremony July 15, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. Germany won the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil match against Argentina in Rio de Janeiro on July 13. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Bongarts/Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - JULY 15: Bastian Schweinsteiger celebrates on stage at the German team victory ceremony July 15, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. Germany won the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil match against Argentina in Rio de Janeiro on July 13. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Bongarts/Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - JULY 15: Fans with national colours at the German team victory ceremony July 15, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. Germany won the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil match against Argentina in Rio de Janeiro on July 13. (Photo by Karina Hessland/Bongarts/Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - JULY 15: Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer of Germany celebrates on stage at the German team victory ceremony on July 15, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. Germany won the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil match against Argentina in Rio de Janeiro on July 13. (Photo by Matthias Kern/Bongarts/Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - JULY 15: The German team arrives at Brandenburg Gate to celebrate on stage at the German team victory ceremony July 15, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. Germany won the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil match against Argentina in Rio de Janeiro on July 13. (Photo by Matthias Nareyek/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Germany's defender Mats Hummels takes a jersey for signing as German national football team arrives at Berlin's landmark Brandenburg Gate on July 15, 2014, after they won the FIFA football World Cup 2014 in Brazil. The team comes to Berlin for a victory parade at landmark Brandenburg Gate to celebrate their fourth World Cup title, after their 1-0 win over Argentina on July 13, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro in the FIFA World Cup Brazil final game. (ADAM BERRY/AFP/Getty Images)
(Left to Right) Germany's national football team's midfielder Thomas Mueller and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer celebrate their FIFA World Cup 2014 title at a victory parade in front of fans on July 15, 2014 at Berlin's landmark Brandenburg Gate. Germany won their fourth World Cup title, after 1-0 win over Argentina on July 13, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro in the FIFA World Cup Brazil final game. (ROBERT MICHAEL/AFP/Getty Images)
Germany's national football team striker Miroslav Klose (L) and defender Jerome Boateng cheer during celebrations of the German national team at Berlin's landmark Brandenburg Gate to celebrate their FIFA World Cup title on July 15, 2014. Germany won their fourth World Cup title, after 1-0 win over Argentina on July 13, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro in the FIFA World Cup Brazil final game. (CLEMENS BILAN / AFP / Getty Images)
(Left to right) Germany's national football team's midfielder Christoph Kramer, defender Philipp Lahm, defender Mats Hummels and defender Matthias Ginter arrive with the trophy on a stage in front of fans during a victory parade of Germany's football national team on July 15, 2014 at Berlin's landmark Brandenburg Gate to celebrate their FIFA World Cup title. Germany won their fourth World Cup title, after 1-0 win over Argentina on July 13, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro in the FIFA World Cup Brazil final game. (ADAM BERRY/AFP/Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - JULY 15: Fans and construction workers waving the German national soccer team near Reichstag building on July 15, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. Thousands of football fans celebrate the German players after their World Cup winning exploits in Brazil. (Photo by Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images)
(Left to Right) Germany's national football team's Germany's midfielder Lukas Podolski and Germany's midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger hold the trophy as they celebrate their FIFA World Cup 2014 title at a victory parade in front of fans on July 15, 2014 at Berlin's landmark Brandenburg Gate. Germany won their fourth World Cup title, after 1-0 win over Argentina on July 13, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro in the FIFA World Cup Brazil final game. (ROBERT MICHAEL/AFP/Getty Images)
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BERLIN (AP) - At a party 24 years in the making, hundreds of thousands of Germans showed their admiration and adoration for their World Cup winners in a victory parade to the Brandenburg Gate on Tuesday.

The players, in matching black T-shirts bearing "1," lapped up the love by playing up to the estimated 400,000 people packing the "fan mile" in front of the Berlin landmark.

Fans began lining the street overnight to welcome home coach Joachim Loew's team and the trophy. Germany's fourth World Cup, the first since 1990, crowned years of work by Loew to modernize the team, and followed near misses at recent tournaments.

"We're all world champions!" Loew told the crowd.

"Of course, it was a long way to the title, and an incredibly tough one in the end. But we're incredibly happy to be here with the fans now."

Mario Goetze, the scorer in the 1-0 win over Argentina in the final on Sunday, was greeted with deafening cheers by the sea of fans waving black, red and gold Germany flags.

Midfielder Toni Kroos led the crowd in a chant of "Miro Klose" - a tribute to veteran striker Miroslav Klose, whose two goals took his World Cup tally to 16 and made him the tournament's all-time leading scorer.

When the players emerged on stage to take their accoldaes, the fans welcomed each of them with a chant of "football god" - giving Bastian Schweinsteiger, Thomas Mueller, Goetze and Klose the loudest cheers.

"We're just mega-proud of this achievement, after standing here in 2006 and 2008 as third and then as second - and now we've finally done it after this long journey, with this sensational team," defender Per Mertesacker said.

There were problems with the sound, meaning most of the players' words were lost to the crowd. The supporters didn't mind, though, and cheered even louder as defender Jerome Boateng, back in his hometown, shouted: "I can't hear you!"

The team plane landed at Tegel Airport in midmorning after flying low over the "fan mile" - which by then had been packed for hours.

Captain Philipp Lahm led the team off the aircraft holding the trophy aloft, to a chorus of "Football's Coming Home" from fans on the airport's viewing terrace.

Raw: Germany's Parade for World Cup Champions

He was followed by Schweinsteiger, draped in a German flag and sporting a bandage over a cut under his right eye, the result of a tackle in the final.

From the airport, the team set off on a two-hour trip to downtown Berlin in a bus painted with the years of Germany's World Cup victories: The previous occasions were in 1954, 1974 and 1990.

The team changed shirts and climbed aboard an open-top truck for the last part of the trip to the Brandenburg Gate, crawling through the crowds at snail's pace.

"It's indescribable," fan Till Uhlig from Hannover said of the crowds.

People traveled to the celebration from all over the country: "They've all taken their holidays to come here. It's absolutely crazy," he said. "We were behind the stage where the bus pulled up. Just incredible.

Berlin resident Katrin Fels, who brought her daughter, said: "We knew it would happen. It was clear from the start of the year that we had the best team. It's perfect, perfect for all generations."

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