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FOOTBALL

Löw confident of perfect record in Euro qualifiers

With his team almost assured of a place at Euro 2012, Germany coach Joachim Löw is relaxed about his side's qualifier against minnows Azerbaijan on Tuesday despite mounting injury problems.

Löw confident of perfect record in Euro qualifiers
Photo: DPA

Victory in Baku on the Caspian Sea would give Germany a ten-point lead at the top of Group A and would almost certainly mean a place at Euro 2012, to be hosted by Poland and the Ukraine next June.

Germany left it late to beat Austria 2-1 in Vienna on Friday and a win in Baku would put them in an almost unassailable position at the top of the table.

With his team bidding to make it seven wins from seven, Löw flew from Vienna to Baku with a squad missing eight players, including first-choice stars Sami Khedira, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Miroslav Klose.

With a depleted midfield, Löw has called up Under-21 players Lewis Holtby of Mainz and Sebastian Rudy of Hoffenheim to complete his squad.

Despite having midfield problems, Löw has again ignored ex-captain Michael Ballack, who spent last season trying to hold down a regular place at Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen.

Rudy has cut short a holiday in Italy to make the long trip to Azerbaijan, but Löw brushed off any injury concerns with his side on the verge of qualifying.

“Since we met up, eight players have now dropped out with injury,” he said. “The situation as it is doesn’t concern me, I think we are in a decent position to play this game, even under these circumstances.

“Both players (Holtby and Rudy) have been on our radar for a while and they are midfielders, where we have most of our problems.”

Holtby, 20, is being widely tipped here as a star for the future and despite his father hailing from Liverpool, England, he opted for the white shirt of Germany and made his debut last November in the draw with Sweden.

Rudy is uncapped at senior level and is hoping to play a role in Baku.

Little resistance is expected from Bertie Voigts-coached eastern European minnows as Azerbaijan lost 2-1 in Astana to Kazakhstan on Friday and only escape being bottom of Group A by virtue of goal difference.

Tuesday’s game is Germany’s last of this season and Löw wants three points to finish on a high.

“We must pull out all the stops and lift ourselves again after a long journey,” said Löw. “Then we can go into a well-deserved vacation with 21 points.”

Löw admits his side are feeling the effects of a long season and are facing the last of three end-of-season games having beaten Uruguay in a friendly and now Austria.

“The players have mainly being doing regeneration work since Friday,” he said. “The batteries can’t recharge any more, you can see they aren’t as resilient in training.”

Löw says he does not expect a ‘footballing treat’ in Baku and his side may well have to grind out a win, but after Bayern Munich hot-shot Mario Gomez netted twice in Vienna, the 25-year-old is in impressive form.

AFP/djw

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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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