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EURO 2016

FOOTBALL

Löw rallies players with motto of ‘Bring on the French’

Despite a mounting injury list, Germany coach Joachim Löw is relishing facing the Euro 2016 hosts in Thursday's semi-final under the motto - 'Bring on France'.

Löw rallies players with motto of 'Bring on the French'
Joachim Löw. Photo: DPA

“It's great that there's a game like this. I love playing knock-out games against teams of this calibre,” said Löw in Evian on Monday.

Löw's cause for optimism over the Marseille semi-final is not obvious with three key players definitely ruled out, while captain Bastian Schweinsteiger is doubtful with a new knee injury.

Germany have defender Mats Hummels suspended while Mario Gomez and Sami Khedira are out with injury. Gomez will miss the rest of the tournament.

As Löw acknowledged, France were buoyed by Sunday's 5-2 hammering of minnows Iceland in their quarter-final.

And the hosts can expect near fanatical support in Marseille, the heartland of the nation's die-hard fans.

Nevertheless, Löw showed little concern as Germany rest up after Saturday's tense quarter-final penalty shootout win over Italy.

“I'm not worried about who the favourite is,” said Germany's head coach.

“It would be easy to say that we have a few injuries and France are favourites as they played really well.

Injury lessons

“But that does not matter at all over 90 or 120 minutes.

“It is like it was against Italy: a game of two teams with outstanding individuals. Both have a clear direction, even if France naturally plays offensively. I love games like this.”

Löw was very clear that Schweinsteiger, who has a strained knee, will only face France if fully fit.

The Manchester United star had only recently recovered from tearing the medial ligament in his right knee in March.

“If a player is less than 100 percent fit, then I won't play him,” said Löw.

“I made that mistake once before in my career and I won't do it again.”

Löw refused to be drawn about the mistake he referred to — passing it off from earlier in his career as a club coach.

But he has been in this situation before with Germany.

Löw played Michael Ballack in the Euro 2008 final, when Germany were beaten 1-0 by Spain, when the defensive midfielder was carrying a calf injury.

With Gomez sidelined by a torn thigh, Bayern Munich pair Thomas Müller and Mario Götze are the most likely options to feature up front against France.

Löw says both could even start.

“It would be an option [to start Müller up front], but perhaps we'll play with two strikers, I still have to weigh things up,” he said.

With Khedira out with a partially torn groin and Schweinsteiger doubtful with a knee strain, Löw has a bigger problem to resolve in the defensive midfield.

Liverpool's Emre Can or Borussia Dortmund's Julian Weigl are the most likely candidates to partner Toni Kroos in Marseille.

Löw was clear that Joshua Kimmich, Germany's 21-year-old hero in Bordeaux for converting one of the spot-kicks in the shoot-out marathon, will stay at right-back, even though he is a defensive midfielder.

“That is not something to consider,” said Löw.

“Joshua Kimmich has always played for us in that position [right-back].

“It was an option to move him there during the Italy match, if I had had to, but not for the game against France, I have other midfield options.”

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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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