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FOOTBALL

USA and Sweden advance to World Cup quarter-finals

Group C favourites the United States and Sweden advanced to the quarter-finals of the women's World Cup on Saturday beating Colombia 3-0 and North Korea 1-0 respectively.

USA and Sweden advance to World Cup quarter-finals
Photo: DPA

The demolition of the South Americans puts the United States top of Group C ahead of Sweden on goal difference, with both sides unbeaten after two games. They will go head to head for group supremacy in Wolfsburg on Wednesday.

They join France and Germany, who have already reached the knock-out round from Group A, with Japan going through in Group B.

Although the world number one team overwhelmed the Colombian debutantes with goals from Heather O’Reilly (12), Megan Rapinoe (50) and Carli Lloyd (57) the scoreline belied a string of missed opportunities by the Americans.

“We didn’t finish our chances but as long as we create chances I’m happy that we will put them away eventually and we did in the second half,” said US coach Pia Sundhage.

“The advantage for the US is that we’ve been winning gold, silver and bronze medals since 1991 (the first Women’s World Cup). This is something that we can call up when we’re pushed into a corner.

“The last game against North Korea and now against Colombia we feel we are

ready.”

The USA, winners in 1991 and 1999, beat North Korea 2-0 in their opener.

The South Americans could have been further behind at half-time but for some big saves from Colombian goalie Sandra Sepulveda.

Star US striker Abby Wambach had a bad day missing numerous chances for the reigning Olympic champions but O’Reilly made no mistake after 12 minutes, slamming past the beleaguered Sepulveda with a glorious effort from distance.

For the goal celebration the entire US team lined up and saluted US military personnel among the sell-out 25,475 crowd who had travelled from bases in nearby Heidelberg in southwestern Germany.

Sweden, the 2003 finalists, had to wait for Lisa Dahlkvist’s 64th-minute goal to see off North Korea on front of 23,768 spectators in Augsburg earlier.

North Korea’s defence held up well before three Swedish midfielders helped give the Europeans the lead in the 64th minute.

Linda Forsberg sent a diagonal cross from the left side to the far post where Therese Sjogran volleyed back across the goal mouth and Dahlkvist blasted in from four yards.

“I always felt that a goal was going to come, I’m just happy to have been the one to score it,” said Dahlkvist.

“I felt that we were in control of the game, and in the second half especially, we had most of the possession and most of the game was played in Korea’s half.”

Colombia and North Korea crash out of the tournament after losing both their games and will play each other in their final group game on Wednesday with nothing but pride at stake.

“This team is very young and they are inexperienced in such a competition as this,” said North Korea coach Kim Kwang Min.

“But this World Cup will have taught them a lot of lessons. In four years time they will be stronger.”

The competition continues on Sunday with Group D leaders Brazil and Norway looking to gain a foothold in the knock-out round in Wolfsburg as Australia and Equatorial Guinea square off looking for their first points in Bochum.

AFP/The Local

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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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