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By ESPN Staff

Loew salutes Germans after third-place victory

STUTTGART, July 8 (Reuters) - Germany gave their fans a performance to remember in beating Portugal 3-1 to secure third place in the World Cup, assistant coach Joachim Loew said.

'It's an indescribable feeling to see the way the people are celebrating this here,' he said after Saturday's victory.

'It's hard to imagine a bigger party even if we had won the World Cup. We're delighted that we've accomplished what we have against all the resistance.'

The hosts ended the tournament with a flourish, midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger scoring two spectacular goals and instigating another when his free kick was turned into his own net by Petit.

'It was a lot of fun, a lot of fun to win 3-1. It's a good conclusion to a great World Cup,' said Germany defender Christoph Metzelder.

'It was the fans who really lifted us the last two days. We didn't expect to get such a great welcome here in Stuttgart. They made us really hot for the match.

'Tomorrow on the Brandenburg Gate will be a big highlight we're looking forward to,' he added of Sunday's return to Berlin where they will greet fans at the Fan Mile.

Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari acknowledged Germany's display, saying they had lost to a 'well-organised and well-conducted' team.

'We conceded the first goal when we were doing well and before we could breathe again, we conceded another,' the Brazilian said of Schweinsteiger's 56th minute opener, which was followed five minutes later by Petit's own goal.

'We had chances of our own but the ball just wouldn't go in.'

Scolari also praised Germany coach Juergen Klinsmann.

'I'm very happy for Klinsmann because I see that his stature has grown in the minds of Germans,' he said. 'I think it is a great victory for him. He is a person I respect greatly.'