Polish paper calls for Ballack’s head

A Polish newspaper trying to heat up the atmosphere before Germany's opening Euro 2008 match with Poland on Sunday has run a doctored picture demanding the heads of Michael Ballack and coach Joachim Löw.

Polish paper calls for Ballack's head
Photo: DPA

Tabloid Super Express printed a modified picture of Poland’s Dutch coach Leo Beenhakker demanding: “Leo, bring us their heads!”

But the German camp – whic could well field two Polish-born players on Sunday in Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski – reacted calmly to the provocation.

Ballack, with 81 caps to his name, insisted Germany could not be riled ahead of the start to the European Championship this weekend.

“Unfortunately, these things happen in football, although something like that is not normally seen,” he told sports agency SID at Germany’s Euro 2008 camp in south Switzerland. “These things happen and they won’t affect our preparations for the game.”

The Polish newspaper Fakt opened the media animosities earlier this week with a cover of a kneeling Ballack in a pointy Prussian helmet about to be beheaded by a sword-wielding Beenhakker. The paper suggested he “do it like back in Grunwald,” referring to a battle in 1410 when German knights were decimated by a Polish army.

The two dailies, Fakt and Super Express, were blasted by Beenhakker, slammed by Warsaw’s ambassador to Germany and also faced criticism from high-brow Polish media.

Ironically, Fakt belongs to the German media group Axel Springer. “This shows an idiotic lack of taste. I wish them the worst,” said Poland’s ambassador to Berlin Marek Prawda, quoted in Germany’s Die Welt.

“We apologise to the German people,” Beenhakker told reporters in Austria, where Poland are bracing to meet Germany in their opening game in Group B. “We want to distance ourselves totally from these weird, dirty and sick people,” he said.

The two football sides have met each other 15 times since 1933 with Poland yet to win, the Germans having won 11 of them with the other four finishing in draws.

Aside from Germany and Poland, Group B also contains Croatia and co-hosts Austria.



British football teams allowed to skip Germany’s quarantine for Euro 2020

Germany's government announced on Tuesday it will allow England, Scotland and Wales to enter the country without quarantine to play at Euro 2020 despite a recent rise in cases linked to the Delta variant of Covid-19 in Britain.

British football teams allowed to skip Germany's quarantine for Euro 2020
One of the venues for Euro 2020 is in Munich. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sven Hoppe

The three teams could potentially reach the quarter-final held in Munich on July 2nd.

If that were the case, they would be exempt from the rule that travellers from the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland must currently observe a 14-day isolation period due to the virus strain of concern – Delta – first identified in India.

“The people accredited for the European football Championship are exempt from the quarantine obligation, even after arriving from an area impacted by a variant” Berlin said in a statement.

“This exemption concerns all the people who have been accredited by the organising committee for the preparation, participation, the holding and the follow-up of international sporting events,” it added.

The exemption does not include fans, who will be obliged to follow German government self-isolation rules.

Germany declared the UK a ‘virus variant area of concern’ on May 23rd due to rising cases linked to the Delta variant in parts of the country. 

READ ALSO: Germany makes UK ‘virus variant area of concern’: How does it affect you?

This reclassification came just seven days after the UK was put back on Germany’s list at the lowest risk level, and barely a month after it was taken off all risk lists completely.

The ban was put in place despite the UK’s relatively low Covid rates as a precautionary measure.

A general ban on entry is in place for people coming from countries on the ‘virus variant’ list – such as India and Brazil – the highest of Germany’s risk categories. 

There are some exceptions for entering from these countries – for example German residents and citizens. However, anyone who does enter from Germany is required to submit a Covid-19 test before boarding the flight and must quarantine for 14 days on arrival, regardless of whether they are fully vaccinated or not.

READ ALSO: Germany’s new relaxed quarantine and testing rules after travel

Euro 2020 starts on Friday as Italy host Turkey in Rome with the Bavarian city hosting three group games as well as the last-eight match.

Around 14,000 fans will be allowed into the Allianz Arena for the fixtures.