Those involved in football like to overstate just how important the game is, an idea epitomised in Bill Shankly's sentiment that "some people believe football is a matter of life and death ... it is much, much more important than that".

However, when Germany hosted the World Cup in 2006, its importance cannot be understated.

By then the time was ripe for the country to move on from the horrors of the past and to feel pride in the nation once again. All the people needed was a vehicle upon which this sentiment could travel. That vehicle proved to be the national team.

As the team progressed through the tournament, all around Germany, people bonded, beamed and celebrated the nation in a way that had once been thought of as taboo.

They exited that World Cup in a cruel fashion – losing to Italy in extra-time in the semi-finals...

...But over the years, the Germans have been kind to the competition, providing it with some jaw-dropping moments.

In 1954, they caused one of the biggest upsets football has ever witnessed by beating the great Hungary side in the final.

They then repeated the underdog act in 1974, beating the heavily favoured Holland side, albeit on home soil.

And they picked up their last victory in 1990, beating Argentina in a dour, dull affair.

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