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EURO 2016

FOOTBALL

Schweinsteiger fit for start in semi

Captain Bastian Schweinsteiger will make his first start of Euro 2016 in Thursday's semi-final against France, coach Joachim Löw has confirmed.

Schweinsteiger fit for start in semi
Photo: dpa

The Manchester United star suffered a knee strain in Saturday's quarter-final penalty shoot-out win over Italy, but has recovered in time to face France in Marseille.

“In a game like this, his experience is very valuable and, in any case, he will start,” confirmed Löw on Wednesday.

 “He will be involved. The injury is as good as cured and he is very, very important for our team.”

After recovering from tearing the medial ligament in his right knee in March, all of Schweinsteiger's four appearances so far at this European Championship finals have been off the bench.

The 31-year-old netted with only his third touch off the ball late in Germany's 2-0 win over Ukraine in their opening game.

Schweinsteiger came on for Sami Khedira in the first half of the win over Italy and aggravated his right knee problem in the process, but Germany's medical staff have declared him fit to face the French.

Germany squeezed through 6-5 on penalties against Italy after the match ended 1-1 after extra time, although Schweinsteiger drilled his spot kick over the bar.

Schweinsteiger will win his 120th cap at Marseille's Stade Velodrome and will partner Toni Kroos in central midfield with Khedira ruled out by a groin injury.

But Löw gave away no other clues as to who will replace injured striker Mario Gomez or centre-back Mats Hummels, who is suspended.

“I have the line-up in my head and have answered a few questions I had in the last few days,” said Löw cryptically.

“We are going to have to be compact and close down the space in defence.

“France are going to be the toughest opponents we have had in the tournament until now.

“The game will be similar to 2014 (when Germany won 1-0 in the World Cup quarter-finals) and France have improved since then.”

The world champions have had a day longer than France to recover from the quarter-finals.

While Germany needed 120 minutes and penalties to beat the Azzurri, France dispatched Iceland 5-2 on Sunday over 90 minutes.

“If you compare the two quarter-finals, we had a more intensive game than France,” said Kroos.

“But their game was a day later and in the unlikely case that things go badly wrong for us, I wouldn't use the Italy game as an explanation.”

Daytime temperatures in Marseille are expected to hit 32 degrees, but Kroosdid not expect heat to be a factor for the 9 PM kick-off.

“I'm used to playing in warm temperatures in Madrid. I enjoy playing in the heat far more than in the rain,” said the Real Madrid midfielder.

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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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