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Klose celebrates belatedly on the world stage . . . and considers an encore

Miroslav Klose walked off the Maracana pitch after 88 minutes, an ovation ringing in his ears from the Germany supporters who wished to salute his years of service with the national team.

Now 36, the striker has still to decide whether or not he will return for an encore.

He may come to reflect that it will be difficult to top this summer. The World Cup in Brazil is perhaps Klose's hit; his fourth finals bringing his first triumph and also his 16th goal in the competition. It is a record which may stand for a while.

Klose will not add to that tally, but he may resolve to carry on and stave off international retirement for a little while longer. "I do not know yet if I will go on with the national team," said the Lazio striker, who scored his 16th World Cup goal during the 7-1 win over Brazil. "I'll take a couple of nights to sleep on it and then make the right decision."

Both he and his team-mates will probably need to wait a while before they are able to get a proper night's kip, though. The celebrations began straight after the final whistle on Sunday night and an hour later some of the players formed a merry conga as they filed past the media and out of the stadium, beers in hand.

A huge party will be thrown in Berlin today when the squad returns home and Klose will be one of those cheered by supporters the most. After coming so close to World Cup glory in the past - he was a member of the Germany team which lost in the final in Yokohama 12 years ago - the Poland-born player deserves his moment of glory.

He endured defeat in the final in Japan but won the Golden Boot four years later as Germany reached the semi-finals as hosts. He helped his side to third place four years ago, too.

"This is outstanding, it crowns everything," he said. "We finished second once and were third twice, but this is world class. I can hardly comprehend it. It was always a dream to be up there [to lift the trophy] and not just having to stand around and have to applaud others.

"The team's performances were important. We wanted to keep our calm because we knew we had the better quality to win it."

That was personified by Mario Goetze, the player that replaced Klose at the end of normal time. His experienced team-mate was confident that the Bayern Munich forward had the ability to win the final for Germany. "Before Mario came on for me, I said to him 'You can make it happen'," Klose said.

The World Cup was won by a single goal but a number of characters. Like Klose, Bastian Schweinsteiger has also endured the uncomfortable ceremony of winning a third-place play-off on two occasions but he was a formidable performer in the win over Argentina. The 29-year-old epitomised Germany's tireless and industrious attitude in midfield, while he played on despite suffering a nasty cut just below his eye after a collision with Sergio Aguero.

Schweinsteiger believes the fact that two substitutes combined to set up Germany's goal - Andre Schurrle crossed for Goetze to volley in - is an indication of just how strong their squad is.

"I've never been in a team that has so much power off the bench," he said. "That is the reason why we won the World Cup. We're going to enjoy the moment now. It's incredible. I would like to thank all of Germany for the support. We have felt that support here."

Germany's next target is to dominate world football for years to come, just as Spain did by winning three major trophies in succession. The Germans are next in action against Scotland too, in a match which will allow them to pull on a new jersey for the first time - one on which four stars will be stitched above the crest to mark their four World Cup wins.

The shirt was issued for sale in Germany yesterday and sold out within hours. Indeed, adidas have seen the benefits already, with customers flocking to its Frankfurt store in a bid to get one of the new shirts, which cost €84.95. Many fans requested that Goetze's name be printed on the back to boot.

Adidas had made a small batch ahead of the final in case Germany won. Adidas shares ended the day up 2.85% and a spokesperson said that Germany's win would give the company "a small extra boost".

The old Germany shirts had sold out almost completely in the last days before the final too as optimism around the national team boomed back home ahead of the final in the Maracana. "It's the icing on the cake for what's already a good consumer mood," said Kai Falk, spokesman for Germany's HDE retail association.

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