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FOOTBALL

Chelsea teammates Ballack and Drogba to miss friendly

Both Germany captain Michael Ballack and his Chelsea teammate Didier Drogba have been ruled out for Wednesday's friendly match, as the mourning Germans prepare to take on the Ivory Coast.

Chelsea teammates Ballack and Drogba to miss friendly
Photo: DPA

The entire German squad was in Hannover on Sunday at the memorial service for national goalkeeper Robert Enke, who committed suicide last Tuesday aged just 32 after a long battle against depression.

The game at Schalke 04’s stadium in Gelsenkirchen will be full of tributes to the Hannover 96 goalkeeper as both sides use the match to prepare for next June’s World Cup.

A minute’s silence will be observed, the Germany players will wear black armbands, Enke’s Number One shirt will be on the German bench and a video montage of his career will be played before kick-off.

German coach Joachim Löw, who has been deeply affected by Enke’s suicide, said he is not sure who will face the Ivory Coast and will see how his side trains.

“I think that after the memorial service, which was very important for us all to attend … we must now try to get back into a normal rhythm, to look ahead,” said Löw. “The next few days will of course be important for me as coach in order to observe the players and talk to them to see who is capable and who has the strength to perform well on Wednesday.”

With Germany’s first-choice goalkeeper Rene Adler injured, either Werder Bremen’s Tim Wiese or Manuel Neuer will take his place in goal.

Ballack, who had known Enke since he was 13, will be missing with a knee injury while his fellow Chelsea teammate Drogba has failed to recover from a chest injury he picked up against Manchester United recently.

With Ballack out, there may be a starting place for Bremen’s promising star Aaron Hunt, who qualifies for either Germany or England through his English mother.

Germany striker Miroslav Klose has not joined the squad after being quarantined for four days last week after his twin sons contracted swine flu.

Just like Löw’s Germany, the Ivory Coast qualified for the World Cup finals unbeaten at the top of their group and Drogba says the Elephants – coached by Bosnian Vahid Halilhodzic – have lofty ambitions in South Africa.

“To make it to the final will not be easy because there are great teams like Brazil and Germany, who have won the World Cup for many years,’ he told FIFA’s website recently.

“But my teammates and I want to make history and want to change the way the world sees African football. I hope that we’ll be the team that is going to go to the final and win the

competition.”

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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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