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FOOTBALL

Beckenbauer assistant Osieck to coach Australia’s ‘Socceroos’

Franz Beckenbauer's former assistant Holger Osieck has surprisingly been named Australia's new football coach over a host of better-known candidates.

Beckenbauer assistant Osieck to coach Australia's 'Socceroos'
Photo: DPA

Australian officials who made the announcement said they had opted against picking a “big name” to help rebuild the team after a disappointing World Cup.

Osieck, 61, who was Franz Beckenbauer’s assistant when Germany won the 1990 World Cup and coached Canada to the 2000 CONCACAF title, beat a host of better known candidates to head Asia’s top-ranked team.

“It was obvious to me that it was a great challenge. I went for the challenge,” Osieck told journalists by videolink from Slovenia, where the Socceroos are playing a friendly.

“I hope that together we will get where we want to be.”

The appointment met with some bemusement from Australian media, which had linked former Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira, Dutch great Leo Beenhakker and even ex-Aston Villa boss Martin O’Neill to the role.

“Holger who?” read the headline on www.adelaidenow.com.au’s story, while one journalist quizzed the new coach on the pronunciation of his name.

Osieck has also led Turkish giants Fenerbahce during a 33-year coaching career spanning 11 jobs, and won the 2007 AFC Champions League title with Japan’s Urawa Red Diamonds.

However, he was fired after a poor start to the 2008 J-League season and has since been working with FIFA’s technical department.

He replaces Dutchman Pim Verbeek, whose contract expired after the World Cup in South Africa, where Australia failed to reach the knock-out stages.

The Socceroos have also been coached by top-rated Dutch coach Guus Hiddink, who took them to the 2006 World Cup knock-out stages, and former England boss Terry Venables.

Football Federation Australia chairman Frank Lowy said he wanted a coach who could manage the Socceroos’ transition from the current crop of ageing stars, including Harry Kewell and Lucas Neill, to a new generation.

“It wasn’t how famous he was, it was what history he had, what kind of person he is, does he get on with the team, what kind of contribution will he make to the game,” Lowy said. “This was the criteria, rather than a big name.”

Osieck’s first major assignment is January’s Asian Cup in Qatar, where Australia will be among the favourites despite only reaching the quarter-finals at the last edition in 2007.

“We’re not going to Qatar just to have an enjoyable time – I’m the kind of person who wants to win,” he said.

The German, who unlike Verbeek has pledged to live in Australia, will watch Wednesday’s Slovenia game as a spectator and is expected to take charge for the first time for the September 3 away friendly against Switzerland.

He is contracted to work until the end of the 2014 World Cup with Australia, which is in the running to host the tournament’s 2022 edition.

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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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