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FOOTBALL

Germany beat Ghana to advance to final 16

Midfielder Mesut Özil's second-half strike fired Germany to a 1-0 win over Ghana on Wednesday and into the World Cup last 16 where archrivals England will be waiting.

Germany beat Ghana to advance to final 16
Photo: DPA

The win gave Germany top spot in Group D and a showdown with Fabio Capello’s England in Bloemfontein on Sunday while Ghana face Group C winners the USA in Rustenburg on Saturday.

Özil’s superb strike from the edge of the penalty area on the hour mark proved decisive while Australia’s 2-1 win over Serbia in the other Group D match was academic.

“We knew it would hard work against Ghana,” said Özil. “I could have already made it 1-0 in the first-half, so I was a bit annoyed with myself. I was disappointed, but I knew that I would score a goal.”

For the first time in World Cup history, two brothers lined up against each other as Manchester City’s new signing Jerome Boateng came it at left-back for Germany to face elder half-brother Kevin-Prince Boateng of Ghana.

“I’m glad we won, but I’m also happy Ghana made it through,” said Jerome, who fell out with Kevin-Prince after his brother injured Germany captain Michael Ballack last month in the FA Cup final in England.

Brazilian-born striker Cacau, who started for the suspended Miroslav Klose, had the game’s first chance when he was freed on the right wing, but fired straight at Ghana goalkeeper Richard Kingson.

Ghana had a chance after 15 minutes when Kwadwo Asamoah played the ball into the box for Asamoah Gyan, but Bastian Schweinsteiger stepped in to snuff out the attack.

Both teams had clear chances around the 25 minute mark in a frantic period in front of a 83,391-strong crowd at Soccer City.

First Ghana’s Andre Ayew broke free into penalty area, but took one touch too many, then Germany’s Özil went one-on-one with Kingson only for the Ghana goalkeeper to make the save.

Germany captain Philipp Lahm then saved a Gyan header off the line.

Ayew picked up the first booking on 39 minutes for a tackle from behind on Cacau, while Germany’s Thomas Müller was also booked on 43 minutes for a clumsy tackle on 43 minutes.

Germany spent the first five minutes after the break in the Ghana half, but Asamoah squandered a golden chance to take the lead when he fired at German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer who managed to get a glove to the shot on 52 minutes.

With an hour gone, Özil calmed Germany’s nerves with a left-footed goal from the edge of the penalty area which finally beat Kingson to give his side the lead.

Ghana then poured forward and a shot by John Pantsil was blocked by Jerome Boateng less than a minute later, while Lahm pulled off a goal-saving block on

an Ayew shot which was headed goal bound moments later.

The last 20 minutes were a tense affair as Ghana constantly tested the German defence, but Joachim Löw’s team held firm to maintain their country’s record of having never failed to qualify from the group stages at a World Cup.

“It was an intense match and wasn’t the top perfomance from either team,” said Löw. “We didn’t play as precise as we could have, but it’s a young team. We’re happy to have won.”

He said his side would keenly awaiting its next opponent.

“It’s always special to play England,” he said. “We’ll have to raise our game, but we look forward to it.”

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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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