Italy shows the German hosts the door

An unindentified woman jumps into the arms of Sammy Ciaramitaro at The Italian American Club of San Pedro in San Pedro, Calif. Tuesday after Italy scored a second goal during a World Cup semifinal match against Germany. Italy won, 2-0 in extra time. The Associated Press

An unindentified woman jumps into the arms of Sammy Ciaramitaro at The Italian American Club of San Pedro in San Pedro, Calif. Tuesday after Italy scored a second goal during a World Cup semifinal match against Germany. Italy won, 2-0 in extra time. The Associated Press

By Vincent Lee

BERLIN – Huge crowds of Germans who crammed the streets and squares howled in frustration while the host team failed to score for two hours Tuesday. That gave way to groans, stunned silence and resignation when Italy abruptly ended the World Cup hosts’ dream of lifting the trophy in Berlin.

Two late Italian goals sent thousands of fans filing sadly away.

Police in Dortmund, where the match was played, said a few fights broke out in the city after the game. They had no information on arrests.

“The situation is getting significantly less calm,” police spokesman Michael Bloch said immediately after the game.

The main train station in Dortmund was closed intermittently to clear the crush of people, but no other problems were reported there.

Things in Berlin and elsewhere appeared peaceful, if melancholy.

“I am not going to sleep tonight, or maybe the next week,” said Klaus Braun, a fan in Berlin. “I haven’t felt this terrible since my parents divorced.”

About 1 million people, according to a Berlin city government estimate, turned Berlin’s “Fan Mile” into a sea of black, red and yellow German flags. They yelled “finale” to the tune of “Volare” and taunted Italy’s team by chanting “You’re only pizza deliverers!”

The semifinal match dragged late into the evening, and was 0-0 going into extra time. Then Italy scored two goals in the final two minutes.

One fan shouted “Now we’ll be third!”

But many just shuffled off, some shaking their heads as they tried to take in a defeat that came just as Germany seemed close to a penalty shootout – a national specialty.

Nearly half an hour after the final whistle, one girl was still lying on the ground next to one of the fan festival’s giant screens, sobbing into a German flag as her friends tried to console her.

“I don’t have anything against the Italian people – I have no problem with them. But I’m feeling betrayed because the Germans were the better team in this game,” said 30-year-old fan Ursel Weber.

This has been a comparatively tranquil World Cup, with little in the way of arrests or notable fan violence.

“We are proud of the way we hosted,” said student Sebastian Heidbreder in Dortmund, where fans of both Germany and Italy celebrated in a fountain in the town’s square.

German flags have popped up in every corner of the country _ a rare display here, where nationalism and patriotism had recently been associated with right-wingers and the Nazi party. The World Cup has also made it OK for Germans to sing the anthem again.

“It will definitely get stronger,” said Andreas Holzer, a fan in Dortmund who described himself as self-employed. “The German team brought us all together. Finally, we’re able to show the flag. Four years ago, no one would have dared.”

During the tournament, “Berlin, Berlin, we’re going to Berlin” became a favorite fan chant as confidence built that Germany would reach Sunday’s final in the capital.

Instead, coach Juergen Klinsmann’s team is headed to Stuttgart for the third-place playoff.

“I can understand the disappointment of the German fans and the team, but that’s football – you live with it,” FIFA President Sepp Blatter told Germany’s ZDF television.

“I have to say: I congratulate the German team for what they achieved and how far they got, and today they were the less lucky team.”

AP Writer Roy Kammerer in Dortmund contributed to this report.