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FOOTBALL

Football: Green Germany expect tough Confed Cup start

World champions Germany will pit an inexperienced line-up against Australia in their Confederations Cup opener on Monday with striker Timo Werner anticipating a robust challenge from the Socceroos.

Football: Green Germany expect tough Confed Cup start
German players (L-R) Sandro Wagner, Sebastian Rudy and Joshua Kimmich in training prior to their Confederations Cup opener. Photo: DPA

With an average age of just 24 years, four months, and a combined total of 179 international appearances, Germany have the most youthful squad of the eight Confed Cup teams.

Only three of the squad — Shkodran Mustafi, Matthias Ginter and Julian Draxler — lifted the World Cup in Brazil three years ago, but none of the trio played in the Rio de Janeiro final.

With the likes of Thomas Müller, Manuel Neuer, Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng all left at home, Joshua Kimmich is the only Bayern Munich star in the Germany squad.

On the back of his breakthrough season with RB Leipzig, striker Timo Werner, 21, expects a fiery start in Sochi for the untested, green Germans.

“We don't all know how fit we are after a long and hard season,” admitted Werner.

READ ALSO: Five things we learned in the Bundesliga

“Now comes an unpleasant game in which the Australians will try, with their physiques and toughness, to take us on.

“But we have a duty to win the three points. We need to get a quick goal and then exert some dominance.”

A year out from the World Cup in Russia, there has never been a better time for the Socceroos to poach a first win over Germany at a major competition at the fourth attempt.

The world champions have made no secret of the fact their goal is not to win the Confederations Cup, but to blood their next generation of stars.

“The first priority is to develop the team, the second to win here,” said team manager Oliver Bierhoff bluntly.

With the likes of key midfielders Mesut Özil and Toni Kroos rested, the pressure falls on 23-year-old captain Draxler.

With 30 caps, the Paris St-Germain star has the most experience and is expected to lead by example in the attacking midfield role.

World-class goalkeeper Neuer is recovering from foot surgery, so Bayer Leverkusen's shot-stopper Bernd Leno is tasked with keeping Australia's attack at bay.

Australia have held their heads high against Germany in their last two meetings in friendlies.

The Socceroos shocked the below-strength Germans 2-1 in Mönchengladbach in 2011.

Then two years ago, the 2015 Asian Cup champions drew 2-2 against Germany in Kaiserslautern.

However, the Socceroos have arrived in Russia on the back of a narrow World Cup qualifying win over Saudi Arabia and a hammering by Brazil.

Despite last Tuesday's 4-0 drubbing by the Seleção in Melbourne, head coach Ange Postecoglou says the goal remains to bring the Confederations Cup home.

Winger Robbie Kruse has overcome a knee knock suffered in the Brazil defeat and could face the Germans.

After the opening game in Sochi, Cameroon and Chile then await Australia and Germany in Group B, with the top two sides progressing to the semi-finals.

Die Mannschaft will wear black arm bands in Sochi to pay their respects to former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, who died on Friday.

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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