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Bierhoff says 2008 German squad can match Euro 1996 win

German manager Oliver Bierhoff says the Euro 2008 side can emulate their Euro 1996-winning predecessors after finally breaking their 12-year winless streak in the competition.

Bierhoff says 2008 German squad can match Euro 1996 win
Even the Queen was amused as Bierhoff won in 1996. Photo: DPA

When Bierhoff scored the golden goal which won the Euro 1996 final, giving Germany their third European title, few Germans imagined it would be another 12 years before their side would again win another Euro championship game.

But having returned home early – and winless – from both Euro 2000 and 2004, the German public was restless for victory before Sunday’s Group B win over Poland in Klagenfurt, but their team delivered an impressive 2-0 victory.

“I am happy we have broken the jinx and all the preparation work has paid off,” said a relieved Bierhoff on Monday.

“We can be happy we had a good start to the tournament, it will give us self-confidence and security, but we haven’t reached our goal, there are two very important games left to play. In 1996, Germany also won our first game 2-0 (against the Czech Republic), I hope it’s a good omen, we can’t rely on that, but it gives us a bit of re-assurance.”

On Sunday, around 26 million Germans tuned into watch Bayern Munich forward Lukas Podolski score both goals against Poland to kick-start their Euro campaign. With games to follow against Croatia on Thursday and Austria next Monday, Bierhoff says the current side have the same hunger to win.

Germany are chasing their fourth European Championship title having also won in 1972 and 1980, as the then West Germany, and Bierhoff said the squad has the same attitude as the squad enjoyed 12 years ago.

“I think in 1996, we were a very results-orientated group, very focused, very determined,” remembered Bierhoff. “We had a lot of experienced players, some had enjoyed success with their clubs, some had won the 1990 World Cup.”

He said the same thing can be said now. The players were focused and although some have achieved individual success, there is a real hunger to claim the trophy, just like there was in 1996.

“There was a tremendous sense of confidence before the Poland game, sometimes players can get jittery and it can either help or hinder their performance. But there was none of that before, everyone was calm and focused.”

Should Germany reach the final in Vienna on June 29, the majority of their games will be played in Austria, yet their base is here in south Switzerland, which demands a one-hour flight for each group game.

Bierhoff defended the decision to base the team at a hotel in near-by picturesque Ascona even though Germany will have travelled a reported 4000 kilometres if they win the final.

“We had to weigh up between keeping the team in the bustle of a city compared to the tranquil peace and quiet here,” said Bierhoff. “We wanted to give the players the location and the setting to relax, they will be working hard, so we wanted to make sure they could also unwind away from distractions. It was a case of weighing up the pros and cons, we decided travelling was the lesser of two evils.”

But centre-back Per Mertesacker summed up the situation from the players perspective: “The location is great here, we have so many opportunities to relax and if we win the final, where the team were based will not be an issue.”

FOOTBALL

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.

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