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FOOTBALL

Butt beaming after surprise selection

Veteran goalkeeper Hans-Jörg Butt admitted late on Thursday he felt ten years younger after his surprise call-up for Germany's provisional World Cup squad.

Butt beaming after surprise selection
Photo: DPA

The 35-year-old won the last of his three caps in 2003, but has been in stellar form this season for Bayern Munich who are set to win the Bundesliga title on Saturday and contest the Champions League final on May 22.

With first-choice goalkeeper Rene Adler of Leverkusen out with a rib injury, Butt has been selected along with Schalke’s Manuel Neuer and Bremen’s Tim Wiese to contest the Number One shirt.

Having been Germany’s third-choice goalkeeper behind Jens Lehmann and Oliver Kahn at both Euro 2000 and the 2002 World Cup, Butt says he wants to enjoy the experience in South Africa.

“It is always a little bit special to be called up by the DFB (the German Football Federation) and I have already seen that in two previous tournaments,” he said.

“I am glad that I have made it, everyone wants to play at a World Cup. I will work hard in training.

“It is important in general to have a certain amount of experience in goal, but today I feel more like 25 than 35.”

In total, seven Bayern Munich players have been selected for the World Cup and Germany begin their campaign against Australia on June 13 in Durban.

As expected, Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Mario Gomez and Miroslav Klose are also in the initial 27-strong party for the tournament from 11 June to 11 July which will be cut to 23 by June 1 at the latest.

Chelsea midfielder Michael Ballack will captain the side.

Bayern’s Toni Kroos, who is on loan at Leverkusen and is returning to Munich for next season, has also been called up along with rising stars defender Holger Badstuber and forward Thomas Müller.

“I was surprised, but had counted on it a little,” said the uncapped 21-year-old Badstuber.

“I had already planned, but hadn’t booked a vacation. I wanted go and head to the sun, but I think the sun shines there too. Now it is up to me to prove myself, I will give it my everything.

“I think the national coach also sees me as a centre back, but I will play anywhere.”

Müller has already celebrated his first cap after the 20-year-old made his debut in early March in the 1-0 defeat against Argentina and was described by Löw as an “all-purpose weapon” in attack.

“Thomas is very flexible. His play is refined but also instinctive,” said Löw.

“He likes to come from deep, and he’s right in the thick of every attacking move. And he scores goals too, which is what makes him so valuable.”

But with Bayern’s potential treble still to play for and two cup finals, Müller says he just wants to concentrate on the next few weeks with his club, before thinking about his country.

“I had hoped to be in the team and I am pleased to be in the squad,” said Müller. “But the World Cup only interests me in three weeks time. I watched the draw on television and I only watched until I saw my name, now I just want to do as well as I can.”

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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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