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FOOTBALL

France and Sweden battle for bronze

Having lost in the women's World Cup semi-finals, Sweden take on France on Saturday in the third-place play-off with both sides insisting they are going for bronze.

France and Sweden battle for bronze
Photo: DPA

Sweden went down 3-1 to Japan in Frankfurt on Wednesday, the same night France were humbled at the hands of two-time winners the USA in Mönchengladbach by an identical margin.

While Japan and the Stars and Stripes march on to Sunday’s final, the French and Swedes will clash having both already secured the two available places at the London 2012 Olympic Games by reaching the semi-finals.

After his side were dominated by Japan, Sweden coach Thomas Dennerby explained why he pulled his squad together on the pitch in Frankfurt to demand they focus on finishing their campaign with another victory.

“This third-place play-off is very important for us, it is the reason why we got back together on the pitch,” said Dennerby.

“I told the players we win and lose together, I said they have to enjoy the next match as we will be fighting for a medal in a few days. We need to recover and not be depressed.”

Although Sweden striker Josefine Oqvist opened the scoring with the opening goal after 10 minutes, Japan hit back as striker Nahomi Kawasumi netted goals either side of half-time while captain Homare Sawa poached a header.

France suffered a similar fate at the hands of the US. After Lauren Cheney put the US ahead in Mönchengladbach, Sonia Bompastor equalized for the French before American forwards Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan put the result beyond doubt.

But the French are also determined to finish their campaign on a high with forward Gaetane Thiney insisting: “I think it’s important to show that we are the third best team in the world.”

France coach Bruno Bini said his side have done exceptionally well to reach the play-off.

“I’m proud of my players. Life’s still beautiful because we have earned the right to fight for third place, which is amazing when you consider nobody was talking about us two months ago.”

France had only previously played in one World Cup in 2003 where they failed to get out of the group stages.

For Sweden, the prize is bronze and the chance to perform their dance routine – inspired by French rapper Moussier Tombola’s hit Logobitombo – one more time for their fans in Germany.

“Thomas said that we could be disappointed, but wanted us to be proud of what we have achieved here and stressed that we have to come together for the game against France,” said Sweden defender Charlotte Rohlin.

“We want to be dancing again at the final whistle, knowing that we are the third-best team in the world. I want to win that game and every single member of the team wants to win. We are going to fight until the end.”

AFP/bk

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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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