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Germany hands Ireland crushing home defeat

Ruthless Germany consigned the Republic of Ireland to their worst home defeat since 1931 in a 6-1 demolition at Lansdowne Road in Dublin on Friday night.

Germany hands Ireland crushing home defeat
Photo: DPA

Ireland were playing under the title ‘Irish Free State’ when Spain won 5-0 in Dublin 71 years ago, but in the World Cup qualifier Friday, Germany gave Giovanni Trapattoni’s men a lesson that will earn its own unfortunate place in the history books.

Minus most of their regular starters, Ireland were fodder for a German side that came into this tie under some pressure, despite picking up six points in their previous two World Cup qualifiers.

It leaft Joachim Löw’s men high on confidence heading to Tuesday’s game against Sweden.

Ireland will be questioning the continued stewardship of Trapattoni, who insisted he could rebuild his side after the disappointment of their European Championships adventure where they lost all three games.

Irish fans had tempted fate by calling for a change in personnel after the summer humiliation and had their wishes granted this week, albeit unplanned.

Shay Given, Damien Duff (both recently retired), Richard Dunne and Robbie Keane were all absent for the first time in 13 years, while just four of the 11 that constituted the manager’s first-choice line-up in Poland were available due to injury.

Trapattoni’s side was therefore an untried and untested one, and because of that the Italian ditched his usual 4-4-2 formation, with the emphasis on nullifying Germany’s attacking threat.

Löw had to plan without captain Philipp Lahm and Mats Hummels but such are the German coach’s options, he still named a back four from Champions League teams and left Lukas Podolski and Toni Kroos on the bench.

The first half action displayed the chasm in quality in its starkest form as Germany controlled every part of the field and went into the break with a two goal lead and looking as comfortable as any team has done at Lansdowne Road in recent times.

Marco Reus, picked ahead of Arsenal’s Lukas Podolski, scored both goals and left Ireland needing a miracle after the restart. Needless to say, it never arrived.

The Borussia Dortmund forward Reus was quiet until the half hour as Germany struggled to turn their monopoly on possession but in a 12-minute burst of action, Reus found himself in the centre of the action.

First, after John O’Shea was caught out dithering in his own box, the German was booked for diving by Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli when he should have earned a penalty.

His revenge would be swift and ruthless.

Bastian Schweinsteiger’s chip into the box found full back Marcel Schmelzer racing behind Aiden McGeady and though he lost control of the ball, it fell to Reus, who chipped home past Westwood.

Eight minutes later, as Ireland struggled to retain possession, Reus hit the net again.

Seamus Coleman lost possession in a rare attack, and after James McCarthy slipped in midfield to cede possession to Mesut Özil, it took just two sharp passes to find Reus who thumped home from the edge of the box giving Westwood no chance.

Shane Long replaced Keith Fahey as the hosts went on the attack, but it was German sub Toni Kroos who hit the net on the hour mark to wrap up six minutes of hell for Ireland.

Özil knocked home from the spot after Darren O’Dea conceded a rash penalty on 55, before Miroslav Klose grabbed his 65th international goal three minutes later, rounding Westwood and finishing from an acute angle.

Then Kroos joined the party, volleying home in style.

With minutes remaining, and the stadium half empty Kroos added a sumptuous sixth to wrap up a thoroughly convincing victory.

Andy Keogh’s headed goal wrapped up the action, but there were few left to witness it.

AFP/mbw

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BERLIN

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.

Shops
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.

Leisure
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.

Hairdressers
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. 

Transport
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.

 

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