" At St. James' classes started one hour and 45 minutes late while Delhi Public School in New Town postponed class tests scheduled for Monday."
Kolkata, July 14 - Relishing soccer's summit clash with community feasts, Kolkatans set off fireworks and took out processions to celebrate Germany winning the World Cup early Monday.

Watching the Germany versus Argentina final on giant screens that were put up at many places across the city, hundreds of fans indulged in night-long revelry as soon as Mario Gotze scored the match's solitary goal in extra time to give Germany its first World Cup win in 24 years.

Even as Argentine fans watched in dismay, a large number of German supporters sporting the team's jerseys took out motorcycle processions in several parts of the city. The night sky was lit up with dazzling fireworks as German flags fluttered in many parts of the city.

As the two soccer powerhouses engaged in a battle royale at Brazil's iconic Maracana Stadium, Kolkata seemed divided between the two rivals as also between the two M's - (Lionel) Messi and (Thomas) Muller.

If Argentina flags fluttered from rooftops with Messi cutouts standing tall, German colours and Muller's portraits, too, adorned walls across Kolkata.

Thousands of fans watched the match either on giant screens or large LED television sets at the city's various parks or at community clubs. When Messi tried to weave his magic with some brilliant dribbling by outwitting his markers, Argentine fans burst into cheers at the Santosh Mitra square. Chants of Messi rent the silence of the night.

There was a collective sigh of disbelief among the Argentine fans when Gonzalo Higuan missed a golden opportunity in the first half, or when his goal was disallowed for being offside.

Argentina seemed the team of choice in Garia, Baranagar and Gangulybagan areas while in localities like Kudghat, Jadavpur and Bansdroni German fans outnumbered those of the Latin American nation.

Writer Sirshendu Mukhopadhyay was all praise for Germany. Their passing game reminded me of the Brazil teams of the past. Messi tried very hard, but he seemed to be falling alone upfront. He was not fed properly.

Bengali film actress Rituparna Sengupta felt sorry at Argentina's loss.

I enjoyed every minute of the match. The goal was excellent. But I feel bad for Argentina. Because right from childhood, I have been a fan of Diego Maradona, said Rituparna.

The beautiful game brought even political arch-enemies together. State sports minister and Trinamool Congress leader Madan Mitra, Left Front chairman Biman Bose and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Shamik Bhattacharya all supported Argentina.

However, senior Congress leader Manas Bhuniya and city mayor Sovandeb Chatterjee of the Trinamool Congress rooted for Germany.

Sensing the football craze, several schools including La Martiniere for Boys declared a holiday on Monday to enable the students and teachers to rest and relax after the match which continued up to around 3 a.m.

At St. James' classes started one hour and 45 minutes late while Delhi Public School in New Town postponed class tests scheduled for Monday.

Cashing in on the World Cup fever, a local television channel gave away prizes to the locality that celebrated the occasion in the best possible way.


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