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Germany's World Cup winners receive heroes' welcome

Germany's victorious football team have returned to the country following their World Cup win.

Captain Philipp Lahm holds the trophy aloft as the side leave the plane. Credit: Reuters

Fans have amassed in their thousands to greet the nation's football team as they return to Berlin with the World Cup trophy.

Supporters cheer in a "fan mile" in Berlin. Credit: Reuters

The victory is the nation's first since the reunification of East and West Germany in the early 1990s.

Fans in the capital cheered as the players' flight arrived overhead. Credit: Reuters

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Merkel's show of anger over US spying claims

Germany told the CIA station chief in Berlin to leave the country today in a dramatic display of anger from Chancellor Angela Merkel after officials unearthed two suspected US spies.

The scandal has chilled German relations with Washington to levels not seen since Merkel's predecessor Gerhard Schroder opposed the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.

ITV News Correspondent Lewis Vaughan Jones reports:

US intelligence on Germany 'laughable'

The German government has poured scorn on the alleged espionage by the US that prompted a CIA official to be asked to leave Berlin.

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said the information the United States appeared to have obtained was "laughable", contrasting that with the "disproportionate and serious political damage" the scandal had caused.

Allegations emerged last year that the US spied on Angela Merkel's phone calls. Credit: PA

Chancellor Angela Merkel was "not amused", Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said, adding: "This is so stupid, it can only make you weep."

Tensions between the longtime allies have risen since revelations last year stemming from documents leaked by Edward Snowden, a contractor with the US National Security Agency.

Those caused Berlin to demand a mutual "no-spy deal", which Washington has resisted.

Chancellor Merkel called US President Barack Obama last year after revelations that the US may have spied on her mobile phone.

US: Relationship with Germany 'very important'

The US said its relationship with Germany was "very important" after Chancellor Angela Merkel's government asked the top US intelligence official in Berlin to leave the country.

State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki would not confirm whether the United States continues to spy on its European ally, but said the country's "security and intelligence relationship with Germany is a very important one".

Germany's relationship with the US is under strain over spying allegations. Credit: Reuters

Psaki said: "We have many areas we work together on. We have areas certainly where we may disagree, but the sign of a strong relationship is being able to work through those disagreements or challenges."

Chancellor Merkel had reacted angrily after German officials unearthed two suspected US spies.

US intelligence official 'asked to leave Germany'

Germany has asked a US intelligence official at the embassy in Berlin to leave the country in connection with investigations into American spies, a German government spokesman said.

"The request was made in light of the ongoing investigation by the chief federal prosecutor and questions that have been raised for months about the activities of US intelligence services in Germany," Steffen Seibert said in a statement.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said "spying on allies is a waste of energy".

"Spying on allies is a waste of energy," German Chancellor Angela Merkel said when asked about the two suspected spy cases.

"We have so many problems, we should focus on the important things," Merkel said, adding that priorities should include "dealing with challenges in Syria and fighting terrorists".

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Argentina coach says Germany have the advantage

Argentina's coach Alejandro Sabella believes Germany will have the advantage in the World Cup final.

Speaking after his team knocked the Netherlands out of the tournament 4-2 on penalties, Sabella said the fact Germany has a extra day's rest while his players faced extra time and a gruelling penalty shootout could be "crucial".

Argentina's coach Alejandro Sabella celebrates as his team goes through to the World Cup final. Credit: REUTERS/Sergio Moraes

"Some of our players are sore, beaten, tired - the results of a war so to speak," he told reporters.

The match is extremely difficult ... Germany is always a difficult hurdle to overcome", Sabella added.

Germany's Podolski shares snaps after semi-final win

German footballer Lukas Podolski shared photographs of his team-mates on Twitter after they knocked Brazil out of the World Cup 7-1 and made it through to the final.

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