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.
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