Big turnout for grand finale

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 15 Jul 2014

KUALA LUMPUR: Excited fans thronged Dataran Merdeka to celebrate and cry together for the 2014 World Cup final between Germany and Argentina.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin were among the 5,000-strong crowd who turned up at 3am yesterday.

Following an intense battle between both teams, Germany striker Mario Goetze settled the contest in the 113th minute, breaking the hearts of many Argentine supporters in the crowd.

Najib, who backed Germany, later tweeted: “What a thrilling World Cup final! Well done, Germany, the new World Champs. Argentina was a fantastic opponent.”

Khairy, who donned the Argentina jersey bearing its star player Lionel Messi’s name and his number 10, however, took the loss in his stride as he was seen joking with Najib prior to leaving the event.

He also tweeted: “Well played Germany. Luck. LONG LIVE MESSI.”

However, for most of the Argentine hardcore supporters, the loss was too much to bear.

“I was hoping that Messi would end the 28-year wait for the World Cup,” said 29-year-old businessman Mijanur Rahman.

The Bangladesh national, who has been living here for the past seven years, said his love for the “Albiceleste”, as the Argentina national football team is known, began from his days growing up as a kid in Dhaka.

“Maradona and 1986 World Cup was the early memories of my childhood, I loved him and I see him when I see Messi playing,” he said.

Mijanur is hoping he will see Argentina lift the World Cup at Russia 2018.

Another Argentina fan, 22-year-old Melissa Ashley Johnson, said: “I felt Argentina should win because Messi deserves it as he is the best player in the world to me.”

On the other side, the victory for Germany was heady.

Marcel Strubel-Huber, 28, said the joy of his country finally lifting the World Cup once again after 24 years was priceless.

“I am sad that I was not back home in Mannhiem, Germany, to celebrate this historic win with my friends and family.

“However, I am glad that I was able to enjoy the final here with my colleagues and this electrifying crowd tonight,” said the engineer, who is currently on a working trip.

Prior to the kick-off, Khairy expressed his satisfaction with the huge turnout.

However, when asked whether those who attended the event could skip work, he advised them to get to work if possible.

“It is up to them, but essentially there is no excuse for not attending work,” he added.

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