Germany tops group with win over France

Germany beat France 4-2 to finish top of Group A as French goalkeeper Berangere Sapowicz became the first player sent off at the Women's World Cup on Tuesday.

Germany tops group with win over France
Photo: DPA

Goals from Kerstin Garefrekes, an Inka Grings double, and a last-gasp Celia Okoyino da Mbabi effort saw Germany win the tournament’s highest-scoring match with Marie-Laure Delie and Laura Georges getting two back for France.

But both coaches were furious with Finnish referee Kirsi Heikkinen who handed our five yellow cards in addition to Sapowicz’s red after a dangerous tackle on Fatmire Bajramaj.

“I think it was overdone,” said Germany coach Silvia Neid. “Bruno Bini (France coach) got really worked up because he got three yellow and one red. You didn’t dare to do anything after that. I think it was too much.”

Bini added: “The first two yellow cards, the players were just playing the ball which is what they do. If you apply her (referee) logic there should be 20 yellow cards in a game.”

Both teams were already qualified for the last eight with two-time defending champions Germany next meeting Japan, who finished second in Group B after losing 2-0 to England in Augsburg.

Second-placed France next play Group B winners England.

The Germans made most of the early running in a tense first half on front of a sell-out crowd of 45,000.

Skipper Garefrekes broke the deadlock after 25 minutes when the Frankfurt midfielder rose highest to pick up a freekick and head in her second goal of the tournament.

Six minutes later the hosts were 2-0 up after Duisburg striker Grings latched on to a Simone Laudehr cross to head into goal.

France were however transformed in the second half with substitute Delie getting one back after 56 minutes heading in a Sandrine Soubeyrand corner just a minute after her earlier effort had been held by goalie Nadine Angerer.

A Grings free-kick on 60 minutes was held by Sapowicz, but minutes later the Paris Saint Germain goalie was sent off for a dangerous tackle as Bajramaj raced towards goal with the Turbine Potsdam midfielder stretchered off.

Sapowicz was replaced by Celine Deville and Grings stepped up to convert the penalty on 68 minutes.

Four minutes later Georges reduced the deficit with a powerful header off a corner, and moments later they were almost levelled as Delie shot just wide from inside the box.

In the dying minutes of the game a Grings free-kick hit the side-netting, and a Bajramaj effort was cleared off the line, before Okoyino da Mbabi put the result beyond a doubt a minute from time.

Neid said her side were just beginning to relax after difficult wins against Nigeria (1-0) and Canada (2-1).

“I think they feel really liberated now,” she said. “From the beginning they showed how they really like playing and how they really wanted to win the game. It was really fantastic and that’s a compliment I’ve already paid my team.”

Bini added: “We had a timid first half. We made it very difficult for ourselves. We couldn’t really show what we wanted to show. Today we really had to draw on all our resources. Playing at home is a totally different story.”

Germany top Group A with a maximum nine points with France second with six, Nigeria on three and Canada zero.


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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.