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WORLD CUP 2014

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Germany seek to keep stranglehold on Portugal

Germany kick-off their World Cup campaign on Monday aiming to continue their domination of Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal at recent major tournaments.

Germany seek to keep stranglehold on Portugal
Schweinsteiger and Ronaldo in the Euro 2012 tournament. Photo: DPA

The Germans enjoyed wins over Portugal at the 2006 World Cup, plus both of the last two European championships and want to get their Group G campaign off to a flying start with a fourth consecutive win.   

The Salvador clash is a re-run of Portugal's Euro 2012 opener against Germany, when they went down 1-0 to a second-half Mario Gomez goal.
   
The pre-match build-up in Salvador has focused on whether or not Ronaldo will be fit to play at the Arena Fonte Nova after a knee and thigh injury.
   
The 29-year-old took a full part in Portugal's training session on Saturday with team-mates William Carvalho and goalkeeper Eduardo both saying he will play.
   
Eduardo insists the Portugal squad are highly motivated to erase memories of a "disastrous" 2010 campaign which ended in the last 16 at the hands of eventual winners Spain.
   
But all eyes have been on the world player of the year's recovery, despite Ronaldo's return to play 65 minutes of Portugal's final warm-up in their 5-1 drubbing of Ireland.
   
The Real Madrid forward, whose form and fitness will be vital to Portugal's chances, has had a heavy strapping on his knee in training.
   
Germany vs Ronaldo
 
But as Germany defender Benedikt Höwedes pointed out: "This isn't Germany against Ronaldo, but Germany against Portugal".
   
Germany midfielder Sami Khedira claims his Real Madrid team-mate has told him this is Portugal's time to break their German bogey.
   
Arsenal forward Lukas Podolski says the Germans respect dead-ball specialist Ronaldo, but there is no fear.
   
"We have prepared ourselves to play Portugal and not just one player," said Podolski, who is set to win his 115th cap.
   
"He is certainly extremely dangerous and can decide games, but we also have players capable of doing that. If we produce a good performance, then it doesn't matter what he does."
   
The million-dollar question is whether Germany can recreate their standard from four years ago when they finished third after hammering Argentina and England en route.
   
Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is set to play, but has laboured with injury to his right shoulder while vice-captain Bastian Schweinsteiger is struggling for fitness after tendinitis of the knee.
   
His defensive midfield partner Khedira has spent most of the season on the bench at Real Madrid after a serious knee injury.
   
Coach Joachim Löw only has one striker in his squad with 36-year-old Miroslav Klose just one short of equalling Ronaldo's all-time record of 15 goals at World Cup finals.
   
Arsenal's attacking midfielder Mesut Ozil is set to be pushed up front as a 'False Nine' with Bayern Munich's Toni Kroos taking over in central midfield.
  
One factor which could play into the hands of Paulo Bento's fleet-footed Portuguese is Löw's decision to move captain Philipp Lahm from right-back into midfield.
   
Löw is set to play four centre-backs with Mats Hummels partnering Per Mertesacker with Jerome Boateng and Höwedes used as wing-backs.
 
Germany has won nine of the 17 meetings between the countries, with five games ending in draws and Portugal emerging victorious in three.

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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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