International football is ceasing to be treated as a reenactment of Europe's horrible past. Is the age of football as a substitute for war coming to an end?
"A World Cup without Germany would be like Star Wars without Darth Vader," remarked David Winner, and Germany were the perfect villain: the bad guy who killed the beautiful teams, like Hungary in 1954, Holland in 1974, France in 1982. But the new, reunified Germany has ceased to be Darth Vader, and just don't provoke the same hatred anymore.
In Episode Four of the Blizzard Podcast we look back at Simon Kuper's 'Where's Darth Vader Gone?' from Issue Five, published in June 2012.
We're keen to hear your feedback and suggestions on these new podcasts - email firstname.lastname@example.org, or find us on Twitter @blzzrd.
Simon Kuper is author of Football Against the Enemy, a winner of the William Hill Sports Book of the Year, and Ajax, The Dutch, The War. His latest book, The Football Men, was published by Simon & Schuster in May 2011. He is a columnist with the Financial Times. A new expanded edition of Soccernomics (previously called Why England Lose in the UK) was published last summer.
Issue Five, like all issues of the Blizzard, is available on a pay-what-you-like basis from www.theblizzard.co.uk. Digital downloads cost as little as a 1p each (RRP £3), while print versions are available from £6 + postage (RRP £12). You can also find us on the Kindle and Google Play stores.