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5 times Football proved that it can change the world!

  • Football has helped nations overcome all odds time and again.
Shambhu Ajith
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Modified 16 Jul 2017, 10:42 IST

#4 Breaking the German wall

The first unified German 11

Saying that the Germans were at the heart of the second war would be an insensitive understatement. But once the arms were laid to rest and rust so the world could entertain the possibility of peace, Germany was torn and divided into three nations: West Germany, East Germany and Saarland. Saarland eventually became a part of West Germany.

The West Germans never missed a chance to showcase their much heralded footballing prowess and went on to win three World Cups while East Germany only ever qualified for one. But when they did, they didn’t pass up the chance to put the West Germans to a beating by securing a 1-0 victory.

Nations are usually divided by cultural barriers or barbed wire fences but they had a literal ‘wall’ that made sure only pole-vaulting Germans could snatch a view of their neighbours. The German wall was demolished to the ground in 1989 but a reunification was not possible until 1990.

After the East Germans narrowly lost out on qualifying for the 1990 World Cup, the magic of football would go on to write a fresh chapter in the history books. The love for the game and an inspiring sense of fraternity brought millions on either side together to cheer for the West Germany side who would go on to win the World Cup.

In the qualifying stages of the 1992 Euros, both sides were drawn together and before the teams faced off, Germany had become one nation. A certain Franz Beckenbauer had predicted that East Germany and West Germany combined would make a force that is invincible.

And in the years to come, it certainly rings true as several players of East Germany became mainstays in the unified German National team. In their first match with a combined 11, ze Germans celebrated the concord by thrashing Switzerland 4-0. In the 1994 World Cup, there were, in fact,  more East Germans in the side than there were Germans from the west.

In 1996, Germany won the Euros and were already more of a force to be reckoned with than ever before. Matthias Sammer who was an East German would go on to win the Ballon D’or winner in 1996.

And finally, in the summer of 2014, the unified German side won their first ever-so-elusive World Cup.

‘If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.’

Published 16 Jul 2017, 09:52 IST
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