Merkel to attend crunch Germany-Greece clash

Chancellor Angela Merkel will attend the Euro 2012 quarter final between Germany and Greece on Friday, a spokesman said, a match with plenty of resonance off the field amid a crippling economic crisis.

"She is hoping for an exciting and fair match," the government's deputy spokesman Georg Streiter told reporters at a regular news conference here Wednesday.

Merkel will fly from a crucial four-way summit with the leaders of Italy, Spain and France in Rome which jittery financial markets are watching closely for signs of long-term solutions to the eurozone's painful debt crisis.

This meeting was brought forward at Merkel's request, the German government said later Wednesday, without drawing a direct link to the football.

"Chancellor Angela Merkel asked Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti to bring forward the meeting on Friday in Rome. Prime Minister Monti agreed and the chancellor has thanked him," Streiter said in a written statement.

Streiter had previously told reporters it was Monti who wanted the meeting to be held earlier than planned.

Germany coach Joachim Loew has sought to play down the wider political significance of the match in the Polish city of Gdansk, telling reporters he is preparing his side for "a normal football contest."

But with Merkel cutting an unpopular figure in Greece for her insistence on painful austerity measures as the best response to the crisis, the match has taken on an added intensity.

The German football association (DFB) said Merkel's presence was sure to be a good omen for the clash.

"The last two internationals that the chancellor watched at the stadium resulted in big wins for the German team: 3-0 on October 8 against Turkey in Berlin and 4-0 in the World Cup quarter-final against Argentina in Cape Town," the DFB said.

Midfielders Sami Khedira and Thomas Mueller both said they were delighted Germany's leader would be attending.

"We are also a fan of hers," revealed Real Madrid star Khedira.

"We're happy every time she comes. She seems to us good luck. She is very friendly and very open with an interest in football."

The German chancellor already visited the national team at their Euro 2012 base in Gdansk, Poland, just before the tournament started, and enjoys close links with the Mannschaft.

"It's nice to feel the full support of the political world back home too," added Bayern Munich's Mueller.

While politicians and footballers have downplayed the crisis angle, newspapers in both countries have stoked the enmity.

"Bring us Merkel," read a headline in Goal News, while Germany's mass circulation Bild splashed: "Poor Greeks, we'll give you your next bankruptcy for free."

Asked if Merkel might take advantage of the match to meet Greece's likely next leader, Antonis Samaras, Streiter said the trip "was all about sport" and quipped that if there were to be such a meeting, "it might be at half-time."

"If he is there, they will of course meet and they will greet each other warmly and then talk about football: about offsides and other such miscellaneous topics," Streiter said, to laughter from the assembled reporters.

The announcement of Merkel's attendance at the match in Poland came as the British government said none of its ministers will go to England's Euro 2012 quarter-final against Italy, which takes place in co-host Ukraine.

Anger is running high across Europe over the treatment of jailed Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko, and other governments have been putting mounting pressure on Ukraine.

No British ministers attended England's three group matches -- against France, Sweden and Ukraine -- as they were all staged in Ukraine, though the ambassador to Kiev did go.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Anguished families make 'last visit' before Indonesia executions
    Anguished families make 'last visit' before Indonesia executions

    Relatives of two Australian drug smugglers on death row in Indonesia cried out in anguish as they arrived at a prison island Tuesday, in distressing scenes as they paid what could be their final visit to the condemned men ahead of their executions. Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, ringleaders of the so-called "Bali Nine" heroin-trafficking gang, are among eight foreign drug convicts who are expected to face the firing squad imminently after authorities gave them formal notice of their …

  • Celebrities urge Australia PM to do more to save execution pair
    Celebrities urge Australia PM to do more to save execution pair

    Celebrities including Oscar winner Geoffrey Rush released a video Tuesday urging Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott to fly to Indonesia to help save two citizens facing execution, forcing the government to defend its tactics. "Bali Nine" drug traffickers Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan could face the firing squad within hours, along with others from Brazil, Nigeria, the Philippines and an Indonesian prisoner. Australia, Indonesia's close neighbour, has mounted a sustained diplomatic …

  • ISIS has not penetrated Phl – AFP
    ISIS has not penetrated Phl – AFP

    Security officials yesterday maintained that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has not penetrated the Philippines following an expert’s warning that the group poses a threat to the country. Abu Sayyaf, BIFF (Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters), private armed groups to our knowledge are the people making problems down south,” Armed Forces chief Gen. Gregorio Catapang Jr. said. The BIFF and the Abu Sayyaf have pledged allegiance to the ISIS but it remains uncertain whether they are …

  • Cerbo named national police intel chief
    Cerbo named national police intel chief

    Philippine National Police officer-in-charge Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina yesterday ordered the appointment of PNP spokesman Chief Superintendent Generoso Cerbo Jr. as chief of the Directorate for Intelligence. …

  • Pump prices up anew
    Pump prices up anew

    Oil companies announced yesterday another round of price hikes with independent oil firms among the first to issue their respective announcements. PTT Philippines, the local subsidiary of Thailand’s biggest oil firm, and Phoenix Petroleum Philippines, another independent oil company, were among the first to issue their respective advisories. Seaoil Philippines also issued its announcement. …

  • PNP to ease rules on gun permit processing
    PNP to ease rules on gun permit processing

    The Philippine National Police will simplify requirements for getting a firearm’s permit under the new gun control law, PNP officer-in-charge Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina said yesterday. Espina said they are working to simplify the process to secure a license to own and possess firearms (LTOPF) amid complaints of excessive requirements from gun holders. Espina directed the Firearms and Explosives Office (FEO) to make it easier for legitimate gun owners to comply with the …

  • Mercy for Mary Jane: Pacman joins appeals
    Mercy for Mary Jane: Pacman joins appeals

    World boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao took time out yesterday from final preparations for his $400-million megafight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. to plead for the life of a Filipina on death row in Indonesia. Pacquiao, a national hero in the Philippines, added his voice to a chorus of global opposition led by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to the executions of a group of foreign drug convicts, including compatriot Mary Jane Veloso. The eight-division world champion, who will face …

  • Phl condoles as Nepal death toll hits 3,700
    Phl condoles as Nepal death toll hits 3,700

    Foreign rescue teams equipped with heavy cutting gear and relief supplies were landing round the clock at Nepal’s only international airport on the outskirts of Kathmandu, which has been devastated by Saturday’s 7.8-magnitude quake. “We need more helicopters for our rescue operations in rural areas,” said Nepal Home Affairs spokesman Laxmi Prasad Dhakal. In a statement issued yesterday, Aquino said a team from the Philippine embassy in New Delhi, India would travel to Nepal to meet the needs …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options