World Cup rivals will be tough, injured Ballack warns

Germany's injured captain Michael Ballack has warned his country's football fans against having high expectations for the World Cup finals in South Africa.

World Cup rivals will be tough, injured Ballack warns
Ballack at training camp in Sicily. Photo: DPA

“After the draw in Cape Town, I said then: people should know that we can lose in the preliminary rounds to any of the other sides,” Ballack told German magazine Stern on Wednesday. “Australia, Serbia and Ghana are all athletic, tough teams.”

Damaged ankle ligaments mean Ballack has been ruled out of next month’s World Cup, which starts on June 11, and he says his side will need to fulfill their potential to make the last four.

“The team will need to play to their limits to beat some of the great teams in the knock-out round,” said the Chelsea midfielder. “That is just the same as it was before I had to pull out.”

Since Spain in 1982, Germany have never failed to reach at least the last eight of a World Cup finals and Ballack says Joachim Löw’s side will have that goal in mind when they open their campaign against Australia on June 13.

“It is terrible for a team if they can only enjoy a tournament from the semi-final stage onwards as everything else would mean a failure,” said Ballack. “It drives you on, it pushes you, but it is also a merciless game.”

Despite his ankle injury, Ballack visited the national team at last week’s training camp in Sicily.

With 98-caps to his name, Ballack’s experience will be sorely missed, but Löw’s young side can come of age, said the injured captain.

“Our team has a good mentality, they will not hide, they will put their heads down and go to the limits,” said Ballack. “Joachim Löw will tease the best out of them, of that I am convinced. In the last few tournaments we were second and third, so why hold anything back?”

With an air of expectancy growing at home for the public’s national heroes, Ballack says only German success in South Africa will be viewed as acceptable by their public.

“Germany is a nation that has to win,” said Ballack. “When I watched the German athletes at the Olympic Winter Games in February, I thought: it is the same for us. You have to really torture yourself to reach the heights which are expected of you, because you only get respect if you win.”

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


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.