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Germans put brave face on football defeat as their world wobbles

Germany coach Joachim Low attends a press conference. Photograph: (Agencia EFE)

Reuters Berlin, Germany Jun 29, 2018, 07.38 AM (IST)

Germans started adjusting to a new world on Thursday, brushing off any notion that a shock humiliation in the FIFA World Cup, which coincides with a rare moment of political instability, was symptomatic of national decline.

German newspapers fused the fates of Germany coach Joachim Loew and Chancellor Angela Merkel who, after 12-and-a-half years looking unassailable, is fighting for her political survival due to a row over migration with her Bavarian allies.

On top of Wednesday's defeat to South Korea which sent the world champions out of the tournament in the opening round for the first time in 80 years, Germans are also aghast at turmoil in their proud auto industry over an emissions cheating scandal. That culminated earlier this month in the arrest of Audi boss Rupert Stadler.

Top-selling Bild highlighted the mounting problems last week after an ominous defeat by Mexico in Germany's opening World Cup match, with the headline: "The three pillars of Germany are cars, football, stability. Summer of 2018 will be remembered as a summer of shaky pillars."

Despite a media assault on the German team, Germans on the street took events on the chin.

Even if fears of a trade war with the United States are clouding the outlook for Europe's biggest economy, ordinary Germans are still enjoying a long growth spell and record low unemployment.

Economists see little chance of taking a hit because of the World Cup disappointment.

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