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Meet the sporting and the unsporting politicians

July 15, 2014 10:49 IST

Meet the sporting and the unsporting politicians

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Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez admitted on Monday she had not watched a single one of the country's matches in the World Cup soccer tournament, including the final, a blunder that some observers said exposed her as out of touch with the national mood.

A-Z of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

A day after soccer-mad Argentina lost the World Cup final to Germany by a score of 1-0, Fernandez received the national team in the capital, giving each of the downbeat players, dressed in black suits and ties, a consolatory hug.

Fernandez had earlier declined an invitation from Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff to attend the final, saying she was recovering form a sore throat. Her counterpart, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, attended the match, even leaping with joy at Germany's winning goal.

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Image: Argentine President Cristina Fernandez Kirchner
Photographs: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

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In a televised speech, Fernandez, flanked by Lionel Messi and the rest of the team, said: "As you know I'm no soccer fan."

"I didn't see a single match, not even the one yesterday," she said, adding that she rang Argentine Coach Alejandro Sabella after the match because it felt like the team had won.

"That's how I felt and how 40 million Argentines felt too."

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Image: Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, centre, speaks next to Lionel Messi, left, and coach Alejandro Sabella
Photographs: Argentine Presidency/Handout via Reuters

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It was party time for Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel. Germany won their fourth World Cup with a 1-0 extra-time victory over Argentina.

After collecting the famous trophy, the Germans continued the party with singing and dancing in the dressing room.

They were even joined by Merkel for the celebrations.

Merkel also attended Germany's first match in the Cup against Portugal and cheered the team on to a 4-0 win. Images of her at the game went viral online, including one of her posing with shirtless German players in the team dressing room afterwards.

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Image: In this handout photo provided by the German Government Press Office (BPA), German Chancellor Angela Merkel and German President Joachim Gauck celebrate with the German national team after it's 1-0 victory in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil
Photographs: Guido Bergmann/Bundesregierung via Getty Images

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Her vigorous celebrations of German goals - leaping to her feet and throwing her arms in the air - have sometimes irritated opposition fans, but have made her the darling of the German team, some of whom proudly tweeted their 'selfies' with Merkel.

Asked whether she was enjoying some free publicity by basking in the German team's success, Merkel replied, "I think people know in the end that I am the politician, and the footballers are the footballers."

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Image: German Chancelor Angela Merkel shares the frame with Lucas Podolski
Photographs: Lucas Podolski.com/Twitter
Tags: Merkel

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Even American President Barack Obama could not escape the World Cup fever. He keenly watched the US take on Belgium in the Round of 16 match on Tuesday.

The Belgians scored twice in extra-time and looked to have the game put away when the underdog Americans scored a late goal. But time ran out and the US lost 1-2.

"Go Team USA" —President Obama #USMNT," Obama had written on Twitter before the start of the match.

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Image: US President Barack Obama (centre) watches the World Cup match, in an auditorium at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington
Photographs: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

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Earlier, Obama had watched the match between the US and Germany.

The US were beaten 0-1 by Germany but advanced to the last 16 seeing off Portugal and Ghana.


Image: US President Barack Obama and his senior advisor Valerie Jarrett (left) the World Cup match between US and Germany while aboard Air Force One on their way to Minnesota
Photographs: Larry Downing/Reuters

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