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FOOTBALL

Germans eager to tame Argentina’s Messi

Less than 24 hours after their stunning 4-1 win over England, Germany were already planning for Saturday's World Cup quarter-final against Argentina - and how to contain Lionel Messi.

Germans eager to tame Argentina's Messi
Photo: DPA

Germany hammered England in Bloemfontein on Sunday with goals by Lukas Podolski, Miroslav Klose and two second-half strikes from midfielder Thomas Mueller in the Round of 16 match to book their last eight berth.

Now they take on Diego Maradona’s Argentina in Cape Town on Saturday and according to midfielder Sami Khedira, the key will be to contain Barcelona’s Messi, the world footballer of the year and Argentina’s talisman.

“Messi is a difficult player to play against, if not the best in the world, there is no way one player can keep him at bay for the full 90 minutes,” he said after Messi helped his side to a 3-1 win over Mexico in the Round of 16.

“It will be a team effort and we may have to put several players on him. Having said that we have nothing to fear and we have a good chance of beating Argentina.”

Veteran German striker Miroslav Klose, who scored his 50th goal on his 99th appearance for the national side against England, said the young side are reaping the rewards from playing as a unit.

“If you look at the two sides, you have to say Argentina look stronger on paper, but the same went for England, they were better known and are more famous than us, but that wasn’t represented on the pitch,” said the 32-year-old.

“We were compact and have proven again that we are a ‘tournament team’ and we can raise our game. “Argentina are a class up from England, but we can hurt them with our tactics and we have to believe in ourselves.”

The game is already being touted as a revenge match for Argentina who lost 4-2 on penalties to Germany at the quarter-final stage four years ago at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium when the Germans hosted the last World Cup.

Klose scored the 80th-minute equaliser to make it 1-1 after 90 minutes, but says he has yet to discuss the game with the squad’s younger players. “Not yet, it is early days, but many players followed the World Cup in Germany,” said Klose.

“We have heard all these comments that Argentina are dying to beat us and see this as a revenge match. But this team should be able to hold their own against Argentina,” he said. “It is hard to compare, I think a whole lot has happened in their team since then. Messi was on the bench in 2006, (Real Madrid’s Gonzalo) Higuain had just come into the team.”

The current Germany team has an average age of just under 25, but Klose

ays the experience gained by rising stars like 20-year-old Thomas Müller and

21-year-olds Manuel Neuer and Khedira will only put them in good step.

Germany are bidding to win their fourth World Cup title here and having finished third four years ago, they reached the final at the 2002 World Cup in Korea and Japan where they lost to Brazil in the final.

“In 2002, we had a very mature side, this time we have a really young squad, but I am happy for them as this all adds a wealth of knowledge to their CV,” said the Bayern Munich star.

“They will still be active in eight years time, they can only learn from this.”

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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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