Seventeen years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the unified Germany hosted the 2006 World Cup. It is a tournament remembered fondly for a number reasons, not least the epic semi-final pitting the hosts against Italy.
When Germany won the rights to host the World Cup, it was seen as an opportunity to showcase the new, tolerant and forward thinking country they had developed into. That was reflected in the state of the art new stadiums built up and down the land, and the multi-cultural makeup of their team.
Heading into the greatest show on earth, little was expected of Jurgen Klinsmann’s side. Many of their key players were either coming towards the end of their careers or only making their way in the game. They did have Michael Ballack at his peak and an enthusiastic home faithful spurring them on though, but reaching the latter stages seemed a step too far.