Spain, Portugal risk early Euro 2020 exits, rainbow row eclipses Germany game


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Paris (AFP)

Defending champions Spain and Portugal risk an early exit from Euro 2020 on Wednesday, while Munich landmarks will be adorned in rainbow colors to protest against anti-homosexuality laws in Hungary ahead of the game crucial of the Magyars with Germany.

The Germans need a draw at the Bavarian capital’s Allianz Arena to reach the round of 16 on the final day of the group matches, but the loss would send Hungary and possibly doom Joachim’s side. Loew to another exit of the group stage, just like at the 2018 World Cup. Cup.

It’s unthinkable for Germany, who beat Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo 4-2 this weekend to kick off their campaign, but could do without Thomas Mueller due to a knee injury.

The preparation for the Group F game has been overshadowed by the fallout from UEFA’s decision to block plans by the Munich authorities to light the stadium in rainbow colors.

The German city wanted to protest against a law passed by the Hungarian right-wing government prohibiting the “promotion” of homosexuality to minors.

UEFA refused “given the political context of the request”. Munich’s mayor Dieter Reiter called the move “shameful” and announced plans to decorate other landmarks in the city with rainbow colors.

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Rainbow flags will fly at City Hall and a huge wind turbine near the stadium and the city’s 291-meter (955-foot) Olympic Tower will also be illuminated.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas also criticized UEFA for its decision on Wednesday, although he acknowledged that “the football pitch is not a matter of politics”.

“It’s about people, fairness, tolerance. That’s why @UEFA is sending the wrong signal,” the Social Democratic Party politician said on Twitter.

– Portugal in danger –

Other stadiums across Germany are also planning rainbow light displays, including the Olympic Stadium in Berlin, as well as Bundesliga stadiums in Cologne, Frankfurt and Wolfsburg.

In response, stadiums across Hungary will be lit up in the national colors of red, white and green during the match, led by calls from Gabor Kubatov, president of the country’s biggest club Ferencvaros and also vice-president of Premier’s ruling Fidesz. Minister Viktor Orban. Party.

The initiative was also supported by other Hungarian clubs, notably those whose management is linked to Fidesz and the nationalist Orban, football fanatic and fervent follower of the Hungarian team.

On the field in the same group F, France, defending the World Cup, faces Portugal in Budapest, where the reigning European champions are in danger.

Portugal will be eliminated if they lose and Hungary win, but a draw will definitely take the 2016 champions to the round of 16.

The Portuguese will face a team from France that has already qualified but will want to win to secure the top spot, which means a theoretically easier tie in the next round.

“We are sure to qualify and that reassures us a little. From experience, I do not let myself be taken by math, we must respect the game,” said France coach Didier Deschamps.

Ronaldo only needs two more goals to equal Ali Daei’s all-time international goalscoring record, who has scored 109 times for Iran.

– ‘Like a bottle of cava’ –

Portugal’s neighbors Spain are in an equally delicate position ahead of their final Group E game against Slovakia in Sevilla.

The 2008 and 2012 European champions have drawn so far against Sweden and Poland.

They have to win this time around to be sure of reaching the knockout stage, although a draw would be enough to qualify as the best third team, provided Poland don’t beat Sweden in St. Petersburg.

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“I feel like we are like a bottle of cava about to be uncorked,” said coach Luis Enrique.

“As soon as we have put in a full performance and achieved a big win, confidence will come and you will start to see the best of us.”

Slovakia need a point to be certain of progress, while Robert Lewandowski’s Poland must beat already qualified Sweden to qualify.

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