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,” said the government’s deputy spokesman Georg Streiter. Merkel will fly from a crucial four-way summit with the leaders of Italy, Spain and France in Rome.
Meanwhile, Germany’s 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.
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.”