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FOOTBALL

Podolski scores fastest Germany goal ever

Germany striker Lukas Podolski answered criticism he was underperforming on the pitch by scoring the fastest goal ever for the national football team in a friendly against Ecuador.

Podolski scores fastest Germany goal ever
Photo: DPA

Podolski smashed the back of the net after a mere nine seconds late on Wednesday in an exhibition match in Florida.

After scooping the ball off a hapless Ecuadorian defender in the first moments play, the offensive player for Arsenal in London dribbled toward the keeper and fired past him.

The second-choice German squad went on to dominate the South Americans to win 4-2.

The lighting goal silenced earlier criticism from national team manager Oliver Bierhoff, who said Podolski’s performance for Germany had “stagnated” over the past year.

The 27-year-old footballer had brushed off the comments with some annoyance before the match.

“If Mr Bierhoff sees it that way, that is his opinion, I don’t really care. We don’t have to discuss everything,” said Podolski, who has made 108 appearances for Germany.

But he made no secret of his pleasure that his nine-second goal will go down in the record books.

“My son was in the stadium and he celebrated, too. Everything else that’s brought up comes second,” Podolski said.

Head coach Joachim Löw said he was impressed by Podolski’s efforts against Ecuador.

“He put in a class performance with two goals, he ran hard and showed plenty of fighting spirit,” said Löw.

Germany now face the USA in Washington DC on Sunday, with Löw saying he was using the two-match tour to assess his squad ahead of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

DPA/The Local/AFP/mry

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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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