FRANKFURT, Germany--Fans waving Germany's black-red-and-gold flag packed Frankfurt's main square Monday to welcome home the Women's World Cup champions.
The German team returned home a day after they defended their title with a 2-0 win over Brazil in Shanghai, China, ending a stellar performance in which they did not give up a goal.
The players led the crowd in rousing cheers and traditional German soccer chants before wrapping up the evening with a loud and off-key rendition of "We Are the Champions." Then they disappeared inside for an official welcome ceremony by the city's mayor and other officials.
"I'm thrilled that so many fans have turned out and that so many had their fingers crossed for us," Germany coach Silvia Neid told the crowd of 15,000 that packed the square beneath the balcony of Frankfurt's Roemer city hall--the traditional welcoming point for victorious teams.
In a scene reminiscent of the street parties that marked Germany's hosting of the men's World Cup last year, the fans turned out bedecked in painted faces and German t-shirts, scarves and flags, turning the square into a sea of black, red and gold.
"We fought well and had a great team--and a great 'keeper who held off a penalty kick," midfielder Renate Lingor said on ARD television, which broadcast the celebration live. "In the end, luck was on our side."
Germany hopes to host the next women's World Cup in 2011. Along with Canada, it is considered one of the leading bidders.