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FOOTBALL

Germany wastes huge lead to draw Sweden 4-4

Germany threw away a 4-0 lead over Sweden allowing four unanswered second-half goals in Tuesday's dramatic World Cup qualifier at Berlin's Olympic Stadium. It ended in a 4-4 draw, with the equaliser arriving in the 93rd minute.

Germany wastes huge lead to draw Sweden 4-4
Photo: DPA

“To sum things up, the first 60 minutes were brilliant from us, the last 30 were incredibly weak,” said German coach Joachim Löw.

“Honestly, shortly after the game I can find no explanation as to how we let a 4-0 lead slip out of our hands. It’s deathly quiet in the changing room: players are laid out on the benches and are totally speechless.

“Had we won the game, we would have been in control of the group, now things are wide open.”

Germany captain Philipp Lahm admitted he was also struggling to explain what went wrong.

“It is very difficult to explain, it is hard to understand how we could be left with a 4-all draw having outplayed our opponents for the first 60 minutes,” he admitted.

“At 4-1, you think, well it’s only a goal, at 4-2 you get a little worried, but before you know it, it’s a 4-4 draw.

“It is unprecedented in international football, maybe only the 3-3 draw between Liverpool and AC Milan in the 2005 Champions League final compares.

“We ticked the game off after it was 4-0, that is normal, but we let our concentration slip, made mistakes and lost our form.”

Midfielder Rasmus Elm wrote himself into Swedish football folklore with the dramatic right-footed equaliser as Sweden came back from 4-0 down with an hour gone to claim a point at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium.

Germany had been cruising thanks to two early goals from Miroslav Klose before Arsenal’s Per Mertesacker, then Real Madrid’s Mesut Özil gave the hosts a comfortable lead.

But Erik Hamren’s side roared back as Sweden captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic headed home before Celtic’s Mikael Lustig, then Galatasary’s Johan Elmander rattled the hosts and then Elm produced the shock equaliser.

“It was still a strange feeling in the dressing room, it’s not every day on the international stage that you come back for a 4-4 draw having been 4-0 down,” said Hamren.

“To come to Germany and get a point against one of the best teams in the world is incredible.

“It is something historical, I am very proud of my team and the way they reacted.”

Germany remain top of Group C on ten points with Sweden second in the table on seven, but with a game in hand.

The hosts’ opening goal came after just eight minutes as captain Philipp Lahm attacked down the left wing and fed Marco Reus to square for Lazio’s Klose who fired past Sweden goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson.

It was Klose’s 66th goal on his 126th appearance having been honoured before kick-off with a fair play award for honesty having had a goal he scored for Lazio last month in the Italian league cancelled after admitting he touched the ball.

It was one-way traffic from the hosts as Reus again provided the final scoring pass from the same position when he combined with Thomas Müller to put Klose in the perfect position to double his tally on 15 minutes.

Having also scored in the 6-1 victory over Ireland last Friday, Klose has now scored three times in two games to leave him with 67 international goals, just one short of Gerd Müller’s record for Germany of 68 set in the 1970s.

Sweden had barely launched an attack and Ibrahimovic hardly had a look in as the visitors were allowed only the rare forage into Germany’s half.

The third goal came from an unlikely source as Mertesacker scored only his second on his 84th appearance as he fired home from close range after Müller headed across goal on 39 minutes.

It finished 3-0 at the break, but the fourth came soon after as Müller again supplied the cross and with the Germans lining up to score, Ozil, who celebrated his 24th birthday on Monday, fired home on 55 minutes.

Ibrahimovic showed his class when he turned his first clear chance into a goal after slipping his marker Holger Badstuber to power home Kim Kallstrom’s header on 62 minutes to give the Swedes a lifeline.

With the bit between their teeth, belief flowed through the Swedes who doubled their tally two minutes later as Kallstrom again provided the pass for Lustig to hit their second on 64 minutes with Badstuber again at fault.

Sweden were right back in the game and the German defence suddenly found themselves working overtime to try to keep their opponents at bay.

The third Swedish goal came on 76 minutes when Elmander fired through Badstuber’s legs to leave Löw fuming on the sidelines before Elm’s late equaliser.

AFP/hc

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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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