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EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS QUALIFYING

FOOTBALL

Ireland stun wasteful Germany with shock win

Shane Long stunned world champions Germany with a goal that guaranteed Ireland a Euro 2016 playoff spot on an historic night at Lansdowne Road as the hosts won 1-0.

Ireland stun wasteful Germany with shock win
Photo: DPA

The Southampton forward's 70th minute strike, just five minutes after his introduction as a second half substitute, gave Ireland an unlikely win and sets them up for a final day showdown in Poland, who drew 2-2 against Scotland, with automatic qualification up for grabs.

Germany controlled much of the game, but a hugely impressive, disciplined display by the hosts kept them scoreless, and in the end Long's howitzer sealed a memorable victory.

The visitors came to Dublin in confident mood, needing just a single point for qualification and coach Joachim Löw was fortunate to be able to call upon a full strength team, although Bastian Schweinsteiger was a late withdrawal following an abductor injury in the warm up.

Martin O'Neill faced a different challenge with regulars like Glenn Whelan, Marc Wilson, Ciaran Clark and James McClean absent through injury or suspension ahead of the toughest test of his reign.

The former Celtic boss included Burnley's Stephen Ward and Ipswich Town's Daryl Murphy in attack – a brave decision that would be deemed genius by the full time whistle.

“The players put in a fantastic effort. To beat the world champions is sensational,” said O'Neill.

“We showed bravery and courage. We had to withstand a lot of pressure, which you'd expect, and we did that.

“We have reached the play-offs now and we can go for it on Sunday.”

An unimpressed Löw countered: “It's an unexpected and entirely unnecessary defeat.

“We had a lot of chances to score but we also lacked precision when it mattered most.”

Full house

A full house of 50,604 turned up daring to dream, and just moments into the game they were cheering the news that Poland had taken an early lead in Glasgow against Scotland.

It was to be a night where keeping focus was difficult, but Ireland's players mostly did so for the first half, reaching the break all square.

Toni Kroos, Marco Reus, Thomas Müller and Mario Götze enjoyed bouts of possession, as Germany's high pressing game gave them control.

Few clear chances followed, but Jerome Boateng should have opened the scoring when he was given the freedom of Dublin at a corner and headed over Shay Given's goal.

Germany also failed to make the most of a host of corners in the first half, but John O'Shea had to be on top form to block Ilkay Gundogan's effort from the edge of the box.

Defensive partner Richard Keogh timed a sliding tackle perfectly to deny Götze a tap in, and when Mesut Ozil did have the ball in the net, it was ruled out for offside.

The German defence were relatively untroubled, with Jon Walters's half-hearted penalty appeal and a weak shot all the Irish had to show for some good phases of play, with Norwich's Wes Hoolahan the outstanding player in green.

Both sides were forced into changes before the break with Andre Schürrle replacing Götze, while veteran Irish goalkeeper Shay Given gave way to Darren Randolph after twisting his knee.

Schürrle almost made a rapid impact, getting on the end of Reus's stunning pass ten minutes after the restart, but the Wolfsburg star failed to hit the target.

Ireland grew into the game as news filtered through that Scotland had taken the lead in Glasgow and Murphy flashed a strike wide just after the hour mark.

Reus continued to torment Ireland's right wing, but Ward, Christie and O'Shea were heroic in defence.

Then came the moment the home crowd didn't even dare dream of; Long outpaced Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng before thundering a shot past Manuel Neuer to stun the world champions.

Müller squandered a golden opportunity to level things before Boateng stung Randolph's fingers with a long range effort but Ireland held on for a famous, and crucial, victory.

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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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