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Germany looking to seal second round berth with win over Serbia

Germany, arguably the team of the tournament at the World Cup so far, can all but seal a last 16 ticket with victory over Serbia in Port Elizabeth on Friday.

Germany looking to seal second round berth with win over Serbia
Photo: DPA

A stylish 4-0 demolition of Australia in their opener has left Joachim Löw’s men sitting pretty atop Group D and all but assured of a passage through to the knockout stages.

Mathematically it is still possible they could still be squeezed out but that would require a combination of improbable upsets and fierce comeback by Australia.

Goals from Lukas Podolski, Miroslav Klose, Thomas Müller and Cacau got Germany’s 2010 campaign off to the perfect start in Durban last Sunday. While other World Cup title contenders like Brazil, England, France and Italy have struggled to varying degrees in their first games Germany were cool, confident and clinical.

The three-time champions arrived in South Africa rocked by the absence of Michael Ballack, but a new star was born in Durban with unheralded Mesut Özil’s impressive performance in midfield.

“We have always sought an out-and-out Number Ten and now we have found one,” said striker Klose. “Mesut has made the position his own for Germany. He is an absolute bonus for us.”

Captain Philip Lahm said it had been important to start with a win, but insisted: “There’s still a long way to go.”

Müller, who produced a superb strike for Germany’s third goal against Australia, cautioned that all the euphoria generated by the win would evaporate with a poor result on Friday.

“The international press are heaping praise on us, when you play well you are everyone’s darling, but if we lose 2-0 to Serbia, they will tear us apart, so we need to keep our feet on the ground,” said the 20-year-old.

“All we have done is get off to a good start, we haven’t really won anything yet and certainly not qualified for the next phase,” the rising Bayern Munich star added.

“We are not the fantastic team which everyone makes us out to be. But we have every reason to look forward to the Serbia game with quiet confidence, it will be a different type of game as they desperately need a win.”

Löw, whose contract runs out after the World Cup, is aiming to all but seal their second round ticket at the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium.

“We did lots of things well, but it was only the beginning,” he said. “The win was important for us as it will give us confidence. We now have the opportunity to reach the Round of 16 early … that’s what we’re aiming for.”

The Serbs, who had centre-back Aleksandar Lukovic sent off in their 1-0 loss to Ghana, are in a must-win situation if they are to give themselves a chance of prolonging their stay in South Africa beyond the first round.

“It’ll be tough against Germany who have a lot of quality but we have to win,” said Serbia captain Dejan Stankovic. “We’ll need to take more risks and concentrate harder.”

And newly signed Birmingham striker Nikola Zigic said Serbia were still aiming high.

“We need to forget about Ghana and go for it in the remaining two matches,” Zigic said. “Germany were excellent against Australia but they had an one-man advantage for the entirety of the second half. It’s all up to us right now and we have to believe we can qualify for the second round.”

Pre-match analysis:

Serbia will present a stiffer test than Australia but with Mesut Özil pulling the strings in midfield for their in-form attack Germany’s big danger could be over confidence creeping in in the belief that they’ve already done enough to reach the second round.

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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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