EURO 2012


Fans and footballers frustrated by Italian win

Veteran striker Miroslav Klose may delay his retirement for two more years to play at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and help make amends for Germany's tearful exit from Euro 2012.

Fans and footballers frustrated by Italian win
Photo: DPA

The Germans 2-1 semi-final defeat to Italy in Warsaw on Thursday left Joachim Löw’s team shell-shocked after the Italians’ dominant first-half display yielded two goals from Mario Balotelli to effectively floor Germany.

“For me, there won’t be many European Championships or World Cups in the future,” said Klose as Mesut Özil’s 92nd-minute consolation penalty for the Germans proved too little, too late.

“That’s why I’m as disappointed as the rest.

“It’s hard to decide now, but I can imagine playing on for two more years to make amends in 2014.”

Klose, 34, said the German dressing room was not a happy place after the final whistle and with 64 goals in 121 appearances for Germany, the Lazio man says he wants to play on to help make amends at the next World Cup.

“There is a very sad atmosphere. Some guys are crying and you can only tell them that they have to keep their heads up,” said Klose, who is four goals short of Gerd Müller’s all-time record for Germany.

“It was one of my bitterest moments, but the hurdle posed by Italy was too high.

“We couldn’t play to our potential. Maybe we showed them too much respect.”

Italy have maintained their amazing record of having never lost to the Germans in eight meetings at either the European Championships or the World Cup, but midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger said the young team could only learn.

“We have a very young and talented team and if every player stays on their path, then the (overall) quality will improve for the next tournament,” said the 27-year-old.

“It’s a positive thing that we’ve had this experience, especially for the players in their first tournament.”

For all their potential and impressive form, Schweinsteiger admits the Germans were found wanting against the Italians.

“They were very clever. Italy are very experienced in terms of the system they play, and it’s hard to play against,” he said.

“They did very well and managed to score the first goal. It was a mistake to give it away and we didn’t manage to equalise.

“The second goal was even worse, and it was hard to find a way back against such an experienced side.

“We lacked a bit of luck and determination, balls bounced off and landed at the feet of the Italians, where it could have landed at our feet, which made it more difficult.”

Despite scoring three goals at Euro 2012, Bayern Munich striker Mario Gomez endured a frustrating tournament – indeed he was taken off at half-time of the Italy game after a listless performance – and has yet to bring the consistency of his club form to the international stage.

“Congratulations to Italy, they played an excellent match. We didn’t,” he admitted.

“It’s difficult to find the right words now. “We are very disappointed. We didn’t imagine it like this.

“It will certainly take some time to digest all this.

“We all really believed in it and unfortunately once again it didn’t happen.”

Nearly half a million people had gathered by the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin confident of an all-night party on the back of victory – and could scarcely comprehend the defeat.

“Germany can’t lose – it’s just not possible,” moaned Gina Pusche, a 20-year-old student decked out in a black, red and gold necklace.

“It would have been huge for the people here if their team had won,” said Gregory Revel, 51, a metal worker. “You can understand that – the youngsters are really in tune with their team.”

In Wolfsburg around 750 Italian fans drove in victory laps around the inner city – where German fans repeatedly tried to stop them. A few scuffles broke out between the opposing sides, and several fans were detained by police for being very drunk.

And in Wuppertal, the newsportal reported German fans threw pasta at Italians after more than 1,000 mixed fans watched the match at an outside public viewing facility.

A confrontation between hundreds of opposing fans was barely controlled by police who used pepper spray to keep the aggressive Germans and Italians apart.

AFP/The Local/hc

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EXPLAINED: Berlin’s latest Covid rules

In response to rapidly rising Covid-19 infection rates, the Berlin Senate has introduced stricter rules, which came into force on Saturday, November 27th. Here's what you need to know.

A sign in front of a waxing studio in Berlin indicates the rule of the 2G system
A sign in front of a waxing studio indicates the rule of the 2G system with access only for fully vaccinated people and those who can show proof of recovery from Covid-19 as restrictions tighten in Berlin. STEFANIE LOOS / AFP

The Senate agreed on the tougher restrictions on Tuesday, November 23rd with the goal of reducing contacts and mobility, according to State Secretary of Health Martin Matz (SPD).

He explained after the meeting that these measures should slow the increase in Covid-19 infection rates, which was important as “the situation had, unfortunately, deteriorated over the past weeks”, according to media reports.

READ ALSO: Tougher Covid measures needed to stop 100,000 more deaths, warns top German virologist

Essentially, the new rules exclude from much of public life anyone who cannot show proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid-19. You’ll find more details of how different sectors are affected below.

If you haven’t been vaccinated or recovered (2G – geimpft (vaccinated) or genesen (recovered)) from Covid-19, then you can only go into shops for essential supplies, i.e. food shopping in supermarkets or to drugstores and pharmacies.

Many – but not all – of the rules for shopping are the same as those passed in the neighbouring state of Brandenburg in order to avoid promoting ‘shopping tourism’ with different restrictions in different states.

2G applies here, too, as well as the requirement to wear a mask with most places now no longer accepting a negative test for entry. Only minors are exempt from this requirement.

Sport, culture, clubs
Indoor sports halls will off-limits to anyone who hasn’t  been vaccinated or can’t show proof of recovery from Covid-19. 2G is also in force for cultural events, such as plays and concerts, where there’s also a requirement to wear a mask. 

In places where mask-wearing isn’t possible, such as dance clubs, then a negative test and social distancing are required (capacity is capped at 50 percent of the maximum).

Restaurants, bars, pubs (indoors)
You have to wear a mask in all of these places when you come in, leave or move around. You can only take your mask off while you’re sat down. 2G rules also apply here.

Hotels and other types of accommodation 
Restrictions are tougher here, too, with 2G now in force. This means that unvaccinated people can no longer get a room, even if they have a negative test.

For close-contact services, such as hairdressers and beauticians, it’s up to the service providers themselves to decide whether they require customers to wear masks or a negative test.

Football matches and other large-scale events
Rules have changed here, too. From December 1st, capacity will be limited to 5,000 people plus 50 percent of the total potential stadium or arena capacity. And only those who’ve been vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 will be allowed in. Masks are also compulsory.

For the Olympic Stadium, this means capacity will be capped at 42,000 spectators and 16,000 for the Alte Försterei stadium. 

3G rules – ie vaccinated, recovered or a negative test – still apply on the U-Bahn, S-Bahn, trams and buses in Berlin. It was not possible to tighten restrictions, Matz said, as the regulations were issued at national level.

According to the German Act on the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases, people have to wear a surgical mask or an FFP2 mask  on public transport.

Christmas markets
The Senate currently has no plans to cancel the capital’s Christmas markets, some of which have been open since Monday. 

According to Matz, 2G rules apply and wearing a mask is compulsory.

Schools and day-care
Pupils will still have to take Covid tests three times a week and, in classes where there are at least two children who test positive in the rapid antigen tests, then tests should be carried out daily for a week.  

Unlike in Brandenburg, there are currently no plans to move away from face-to-face teaching. The child-friendly ‘lollipop’ Covid tests will be made compulsory in day-care centres and parents will be required to confirm that the tests have been carried out. Day-care staff have to document the results.

What about vaccination centres?
Berlin wants to expand these and set up new ones, according to Matz. A new vaccination centre should open in the Ring centre at the end of the week and 50 soldiers from the German army have been helping at the vaccination centre at the Exhibition Centre each day since last week.

The capacity in the new vaccination centre in the Lindencenter in Lichtenberg is expected to be doubled. There are also additional vaccination appointments so that people can get their jabs more quickly. Currently, all appointments are fully booked well into the new year.