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Germany hopes World Cup will help boost birthrate, beer sales

BERLIN — For Germany, this World Cup is not only about winning, but also boosting the country’s plunging birthrate.

Ahead of the second-round match against England on Sunday, Family Minister Kristina Schroeder said continued progress by the national team could prompt a much-needed baby boom.

The 2006 World Cup had a positive effect on the number of births, she told the Rheinische Post newspaper.

“That is why I as the family minister would be especially happy if Germany wins the championship,” Schroeder said.

Others would be just as thrilled, for reasons of their own.

German breweries are expecting to sell an extra 200 million liters (52.84 million gallons) of beer — if the German team advances to the final, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung weekly reported.

“Our sales have been very successful during the World Cup,” Frank Windau of Bitburger breweries told the paper.

In both instances, the problem is essentially the same: the numbers have been down for some time.

The number of births fell by another 3.6 percent to 651,000 in 2009, the lowest since World War II. And annual beer consumption has dropped from more than 150 liters (39.63 gallons) per person in 1976 to about 111 liters (29.32 gallon) last year.

Only 2006, the year of the World Cup in Germany, was a positive exception for the German brewers, the Sonntagszeitung reported.

While brewers and the government are still hoping, the electronics industry has already profited, no matter what the outcome of the England match.

From January through June, major television manufacturers sold 400,000 more flat screen TV sets in Germany than the year before when 1.8 million sets were purchased, Focus magazine reported Saturday.

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