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FOOTBALL

Löw insists on victory over Finland in final World Cup qualifier

Coach Joachim Löw has insisted Germany must finish their World Cup qualification campaign in Hamburg on Wednesday night with a victory over Finland with places at South Africa 2010 still up for grabs.

Löw insists on victory over Finland in final World Cup qualifier
Photo: DPA

Germany booked their berth at next June’s World Cup when they won 1-0 in Moscow on Saturday night, but with his side undefeated at the top of Group Four, Löw is calling for a ninth win in ten qualifying matches.

“We want the three points, we want to finish this qualification phase with a win,” said Löw ahead of the clash at Hamburg’s HSH Nordbank Arena.

Löw said Stuttgart’s Brazil-born striker Cacau will start alongside Bayern Munich’s Mario Gomez, while Hoffenheim’s Andreas Beck will play on the right side of the defence and Hamburg’s Piotr Trochowski will start on the wing.

Stuttgart’s Thomas Hitzlsperger takes the central defensive midfielder’s role while Germany captain Michael Ballack is set to play a limited role.

The 33-year-old picked up an ankle injury in Moscow and Löw is keen to give other people their chance to play.

“This is their chance to show me they are ready for a World Cup,” said Löw. “Michael will play maybe a half or 60 minutes, we have to be aware of his workload with Champions League games coming up.”

Meanwhile Turkey coach Fatih Terim says he will resign after Wednesday’s game with Armenia now his side are unable to qualify for the World Cup and Löw has been linked to the role by the Turkish media.

The 49-year-old German has twice coached Turkish sides, but insists he is fully focused on the Germany job.

“I haven’t heard anything about it, I know Turkish football and there are lots of names being mentioned for the job. But for me it is not a theme and I am just concentrating on my job,” he said.

Germany join fellow European heavyweights England, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands who have already qualified for the World Cup and Loew says he has been surprised by the form of other big sides.

“Germany is always amongst the favourites for a major tournament and we have a good basis to win the title in South Africa,” said Löw. “For the moment, I have a good feeling about next year, we have been building for five years towards this tournament.”

Löw also revealed who makes up the backbone of the Germany side in his first-choice line-up alongside captain Ballack.

“Philipp Lahm is a very consistent player and is absolutely appreciated by the team, as is defender Per Mertesacker,” said Löw.

“He is totally reliable and strong, whenever we meet strong opponents. “Also Bastian Schweinsteiger is held in high regard because he has matured into his role in midfield,” he said. “And striker Miroslav Klose has always justified my confidence in him over the years.”

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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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