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FOOTBALL

Legendary Beckenbauer backs Germany for semi-finals

Football legend Franz Beckenbauer has backed Germany's young side to reach at least the semi-finals in their bid to win a fourth World Cup title.

Legendary Beckenbauer backs Germany for semi-finals
Beckenbauer and Löw at a recent press conference. Photo: DPA

Beckenbauer captained the 1974 team to World Cup success on home soil and then coached the side which won the Italia 1990 title.

With captain Michael Ballack out, Germany coach Joachim Löw has handed the captain’s armband to defender Philipp Lahm, who takes over a relatively inexperienced side packed with potential.

Both Bayern Munich’s Thomas Müller, 20, and Holger Badstuber, 21, were playing reserve football only last August, yet have both won their first caps and played in a Champions League final.

The defensive midfielder role vacated by Ballack’s injury is likely to be filled by Stuttgart’s Sami Khedira, 22, while the dazzling skills of Mesut Özil and Marko Marin, both 21, could play havoc with defences.

The 64-year-old Beckenbauer visited the German squad at their World Cup base on Wednesday and said Lahm’s side can reach at least the last four.

“You can see it in their body-language and in the warm-up games, the Germans are enjoying their football and it is a good sign,” said Beckenbauer with the current squad having an average age of just 25.

“I hope we can at least reach the semi-finals. Of course, you need a little bit of luck and not just skill.”

Löw has said his young team can cope with the expectations on their shoulders in the high-pressure environment of a World Cup.

“You can’t prepare players for the situations they will face,” he said. “In such situations, even experienced players can fail. But we have done a lot of work on our system, the young players are talented and can go with confidence into the tournament. Experience plays only a slightly secondary role, the decisive factor is their quality.”

Under Dutch coach Pim Verbeek, Australia are expected to give Germany a hard test when the two sides begin their World Cup campaign in Durban on Sunday.

“They are incredibly well-organised on the pitch and their defence is almost perfect,” said Löw. “They are also incredibly powerful, it will be hard to beat them.”

But Löw insists Germany will not be playing for the draw.

“The target is to win. We want to be proactive and play an attacking game,” he said.

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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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