Europe Reels From Worst Floods In Years As Death Toll Nears 130

A picture taken on July 15, 2021, shows cars piled up by the water at a roundabout in the Belgian city of Verviers, after heavy rains and floods lashed western Europe, killing at least two people in Belgium. François WALSCHAERTS / AFP

 

 

Devastating floods have torn through entire villages and killed at least 128 people in Europe, most of them in western Germany where stunned emergency services were still combing the wreckage on Friday.

Unsuspecting residents were caught completely off guard by the torrent dubbed the “flood of death” by German newspaper Bild.

Streets and houses were submerged by water in some areas, while cars were left overturned on soaked streets after flood waters passed. Some districts were completely cut off.

“Everything was underwater within 15 minutes,” Agron Berischa, a 21-year-old decorator from Bad Neuenahr in Rhineland-Palatinate state, told AFP.

“Our flat, our office, our neighbours’ houses, everywhere was underwater.”

Europe Reels From Worst Floods In Years As Death Toll Nears 130
A man takes pictures of cars and rubble piled up in a street after the floods caused major damage in Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, western Germany, on July 16, 2021.
Christof STACHE / AFP

 

 

In nearby Schuld, Hans-Dieter Vrancken, 65, said “caravans, cars were washed away, trees were uprooted, houses were knocked down”.

“We have lived here in Schuld for over 20 years and we have never experienced anything like it. It’s like a warzone,” he said.

Roger Lewentz, interior minister for Rheinland-Palatinate, told Bild the death toll was likely to rise as emergency services continued to search the affected areas over the coming days.

“When emptying cellars or pumping out cellars, we keep coming across people who have lost their lives in these floods,” he said.

With five more dead found in the state by Friday evening, the nationwide death toll mounted to 108.

Adding to the devastation, several more people were feared dead in a landslide in the town of Erftstadt in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) triggered by the floods.

In neighbouring Belgium, the government confirmed the death toll had jumped to 20 — earlier reports had said 23 dead — with more than 21,000 people left without electricity in one region.

Calling the floods “possibly the most catastrophic our country has ever seen,” Prime Minister Alexander De Croo declared Tuesday a day of national mourning.

Luxembourg and the Netherlands were also hammered by heavy rains, inundating many areas and forcing thousands to be evacuated in the city of Maastricht.

People stand in a devastated street in an area completely destroyed by the flood in the Blessem district of Erftstadt, western Germany, on July 16, 2021. (Photo by SEBASTIEN BOZON / AFP)

Fearing the worst

In Germany’s hard-hit Ahrweiler district in Rhineland-Palatinate, several houses collapsed completely, drawing comparisons to the aftermath of a tsunami.

At least 24 people were confirmed dead in Euskirchen, one of the worst-affected towns.

“I fear that we will only see the full extent of the disaster in the coming days,” Chancellor Angela Merkel said late Thursday from Washington, where she met with President Joe Biden.

“My empathy and my heart go out to all of those who in this catastrophe lost their loved ones, or who are still worrying about the fate of people still missing.”

In Ahrweiler, around 1,300 people were unaccounted for, although local authorities told Bild the high number was likely due to damaged phone networks.

Lewentz told local media that up to 60 people were believed to be missing, “and when you haven’t heard from people for such a long time… you have to fear the worst”.

Soldiers of the German armed forces Bundeswehr search for flood victims in submerged vehicles on the federal highway B265 in Erftstadt, western Germany, on July 17, 2021 (Photo by SEBASTIEN BOZON / AFP)

Billions in damage

Gerd Landsberg, head of the German Association of Towns and Municipalities, said the cost of the damage was likely to run into “billions of euros”.

In Belgium, the army has been sent to four of the country’s 10 provinces to help with rescue and evacuations.

The swollen Meuse river “is going to look very dangerous for Liege”, a nearby city of 200,000 people, warned Wallonia regional president Elio Di Rupo.

In Switzerland, lakes and rivers were also swelling after heavy overnight rainfall. In Lucerne in particular, Lake Lucerne had begun to flood the city centre.

Some parts of western Europe received up to two months’ worth of rainfall in two days on soil that was already near saturation, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

But there was some improvement Friday as the water level began to fall back.

Aerial view taken on July 15, 2021 shows the flooded village of Schuld, near Adenau, western Germany. Christoph Reichwein / dpa / AFP

Climate change?

The severe storms have put climate change back at the centre of Germany’s election campaign ahead of a September 26 poll marking the end of Merkel’s 16 years in power.

Speaking in Berlin, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Germany would “only be able to curb extreme weather situations if we engage in a determined fight against climate change”.

The country “must prepare much better” in future, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said, adding that “this extreme weather is a consequence of climate change”.

Because a warmer atmosphere holds more water, climate change increases the risk and intensity of flooding from extreme rainfall.

In urban areas with poor drainage and buildings located in flood zones, the damage can be severe.

North Rhine-Westphalia premier Armin Laschet, the conservative running to succeed Merkel, called for “speeding up” global efforts to fight climate change, underlining the link between global warming and extreme weather.

AFP

German Floods Death Toll Rises To 133, 153 In Europe

A man walks through the floods towards destroyed houses in Schuld near Bad Neuenahr, western Germany, on July 15, 2021. Heavy rains and floods lashing western Europe have killed at least 42 people in Germany and left many more missing, as rising waters led several houses to collapse.
Bernd LAUTER / AFP

 

 

The death toll from devastating floods in Germany reached 133 on Saturday, police said, bringing the total number of those killed in Europe to 153.

“According to current information, 90 people lost their lives during the disaster” in the Rhineland-Palatinate region, one of the worst-hit, police in the city of Koblenz said in a statement. A further 43 people have died in the neighbouring North Rhine-Westphalia, and 20 in Belgium.

Germany Picks Through Rubble After Deadly European Floods

Soldiers of the German armed forces Bundeswehr search for flood victims in submerged vehicles on the federal highway B265 in Erftstadt, western Germany, on July 17, 2021, after heavy rains hit parts of the country, causing widespread flooding and major damage.  (Photo by SEBASTIEN BOZON / AFP)

 

 

Rescue workers scrambled Saturday to find survivors and victims of the devastation wreaked by the worst floods to hit western Europe in living memory, which have already left more than 150 people dead and dozens more missing.

Western Germany has suffered the most brutal impact of the deluge that also pummelled Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, leaving streets and homes submerged in muddy water and isolating entire communities.

With the death toll in Germany at 133 three days into the disaster, rescuers said far more bodies were likely to be found in sodden cellars and collapsed homes.

“We have to assume we will find further victims,” said Carolin Weitzel, mayor of Erftstadt, where a terrifying landslide was triggered by the floods.

In Germany’s worst-hit states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate, residents who fled the deluge were gradually returning to their homes and scenes of desolation on Saturday.

 

A man stands next to piled up debris and damaged cars in a street in Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, western Germany, on July 16, 2021, after heavy rain hit parts of the country, causing widespread flooding and major damage. (Photo by CHRISTOF STACHE / AFP)

 

“Within minutes, a wave was in the house,” baker Cornelia Schloesser told AFP of the torrents that arrived in the town of Schuld, carrying her century-old family business with them.

“It’s all been a nightmare for 48 hours, we’re going round in circles here but we can’t do anything,” she said, surveying the heaps of twisted metal, broken glass and wood that have piled up at her former storefront.

In neighbouring Belgium, the death toll jumped to 20 with up to 20 people still missing and more than 21,000 left without electricity in one region.

Prime Minister Alexander de Croo was heading for the scene of what he has called “unprecedented” flood damage. He has declared Tuesday a day of official mourning.

Luxembourg and the Netherlands were also hammered by heavy rains, inundating many areas and forcing thousands to be evacuated in the city of Maastricht.

 

People stand in a devastated street in an area completely destroyed by the flood in the Blessem district of Erftstadt, western Germany, on July 16, 2021.  (Photo by SEBASTIEN BOZON / AFP)

 

– ‘Immense’ task –
A burst dam in Germany’s Heinsberg district 65 kilometres (40 miles) southwest of Duesseldorf overnight prompted the emergency evacuation of more than 700 residents.

In some affected areas, firefighters, local officials and soldiers, some driving tanks, have begun the colossal work of clearing the piles of debris clogging the streets.

“The task is immense,” said Tim Kurzbach, mayor of Solingen, a city in the south of the Ruhr area.

The real scale of the disaster is only now becoming clear, with damaged buildings being assessed, some of which will have to be demolished, and efforts under way to restore gas, electricity and telephone services.

The disruption to communication networks has complicated efforts to assess the number still missing, and most roads in the submerged Ahr Valley are out of service.

More than 90 of the dead lived in its Ahrweiler district, including 12 residents of a home for the disabled who drowned in the rising waters.

Roger Lewentz, interior minister for Rhineland-Palatinate, told local media up to 60 people were believed to be missing. More than 600 were injured.

The government has said it is working to set up a special aid fund, with the cost of damage expected to reach several billion euros.

Chancellor Angela Merkel, who returned Friday from a trip to Washington overshadowed by the disaster, vowed to provide “short and long-term support from the government” to stricken municipalities.

Her spokesman said Friday she was in close contact with regional leaders about “a visit soon to the scene of the catastrophe”.

 

Soldiers of the German armed forces Bundeswehr search for flood victims in submerged vehicles on the federal highway B265 in Erftstadt, western Germany, on July 17, 2021, after heavy rains hit parts of the country, causing widespread flooding and major damage.  (Photo by SEBASTIEN BOZON / AFP)

 

– Focus on climate change –
The devastating floods have put climate change back at the centre of Germany’s election campaign ahead of a September 26 poll marking the end of Merkel’s 16 years in power.

President Frank-Walter Steinmeier urged a more “determined” battle against global warming in light of the disaster, ahead of a visit to Erftstadt Saturday.

Armin Laschet from Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, the frontrunner to succeed the veteran chancellor, spoke of “a disaster of historic proportions”.

News magazine Der Spiegel said the floods would train a spotlight on the candidates’ response to climate change.

“There will be affirmations in the coming days that it’s not an issue for the campaign but of course it is,” it said.

“People want to know how politicians will lead them through something like this.”

German reinsurance giant Munich Re said nations would have to expect rising “frequency and intensity” of natural disasters due to the climate emergency, calling for preventive action “which, in the final analysis, will be less costly”.

UPDATED: At Least 42 Dead In Germany As Storms Ravage Europe

An Opel Astra car is covered in rubble after heavy rain and floods in Hagen, western Germany, on July 15, 2021. Heavy rains and floods lashing western Europe have killed at least 42 people in Germany and left many more missing, as rising waters led several houses to collapse.
INA FASSBENDER / AFP

 

Heavy rains and floods lashing western Europe have killed at least 42 people in Germany and left many more missing, as rising waters led several houses to collapse on Thursday.

Unusually heavy rains also inundated neighbouring Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Belgium, where at least four people were reported dead.

Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) states were the worst hit in Germany by the deluge, which has caused rivers to burst their banks and threatens to bring down more homes.

At least 18 bodies were recovered in the region around the western town of Ahrweiler alone, a police spokesman told AFP. Local officials had earlier reported up to 70 people missing.

Farther north, the district of Euskirchen in NRW reported 15 dead.

Desperate residents sought refuge on the roofs of their homes as helicopters circled above to rescue them from the rising waters.

Pensioner Annemarie Mueller, 65, looking out at her flooded garden and garage from her balcony, said her town of Mayen had been completely unprepared for the destruction.

“Where did all this rain come from? It’s crazy,” she told AFP.

“It made such a loud noise and given how fast it came down we thought it would break the door down.”

Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was “shocked” by the devastation and thanked the “tireless volunteers and emergency service workers” at the scene.

NRW leader Armin Laschet, who is running to succeed Merkel in September elections, cancelled a party meeting in Bavaria to survey the damage in his state, Germany’s most populous.

“We will stand by the towns and people who’ve been affected,” Laschet, clad in rubber boots, told reporters in the town of Hagen.

 

 ‘Go to higher floors’

A man walks through the floods towards destroyed houses in Schuld near Bad Neuenahr, western Germany, on July 15, 2021. Heavy rains and floods lashing western Europe have killed at least 42 people in Germany and left many more missing, as rising waters led several houses to collapse. Bernd LAUTER / AFP

 

Four of the dead were in the municipality of Schuld south of Bonn where six houses were swept away by floods, a police spokesman in the city of Koblenz said.

Several other bodies were recovered from flooded cellars across the region.

The environment ministry in Rhineland-Palatinate warned it expected floodwaters on the Rhine and Moselle rivers to rise with more rainfall.

In NRW alone, 135,000 households were without power.

Emergency workers struggled to evacuate people in endangered buildings and two firemen were killed Wednesday in the line of duty in the towns of Altena and Werdohl.

Police set up a crisis hotline for reporting missing loved ones and residents were asked to send in videos and photos that could help them in the search.

Regional official Juergen Pfoehler urged people to stay home “and, if possible, go to higher floors” of their houses.

The German military deployed some 400 soldiers across the two affected states to assist in rescue efforts.

In the city of Leverkusen, a power outage triggered by the storms led to the evacuation of a hospital with 468 patients.

City authorities reported that after intensive care patients were moved to other facilities overnight, the other wards would have to be cleared in the course of the day.

 

 ‘Rarely experienced’

Aerial video grab view taken on July 15, 2021, from a video footage shows flooded properties, houses and landscapes after heavy rainfall and floods in Kesseling near Bad Neuenahr, western Germany, Ferdinand MERZBACH / NEWS5 / AFP

 

Belgium has also seen several days of heavy rain that has caused rivers in the French-speaking region of Wallonia to burst their banks. Four were reported dead.

The provinces of Liege and Namur were especially affected, with the resort town of Spa completely flooded. In the town of Chaudfontaine, daily Le Soir reported that nearly 1,800 people had to evacuate.

The country’s Infrabel rail network said it was suspending services in the southern half of the country, given the risks to travel.

The southern Dutch province of Limburg, which is bordered by Germany and Belgium, also reported widespread damage with rising waters threatening to cut off the small city of Valkenburg west of Maastricht.

Local news footage showed small rivers of water flowing through the scenic city centre’s streets and at least one old age home had been evacuated.

Officials also closed off several roads including the busy A2 highway, while fears remained that water from heavy rains in Germany and Belgium would push up river levels as it reached the Netherlands.

Meanwhile, the Luxembourg government set up a crisis cell to respond to emergencies triggered by heavy rains overnight as Prime Minister Xavier Bettel reported “several homes” had been flooded and were “no longer inhabitable”.

-AFP

Storms Leave At Least 19 Dead, Several Missing In Germany

An aerial view taken on July 15, 2021 shows the flooded village of Schuld, near Adenau, western Germany, after heavy rains and floods caused damages and tore down at least six houses and dozens of people went missing. 
Christoph Reichwein / dpa / AFP

 

\Heavy rains and floods lashing western Germany have killed at least 19 people and left around 50 missing, regional officials said, as rising waters led several houses to collapse on Thursday.

Unusually heavy rains also ravaged neighbouring Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Belgium, where another two people were reported dead.

Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) states were the worst hit by the unusually heavy rainfall, which has caused rivers to burst their banks and threatens to bring down more homes.

“We have never seen such a catastrophe, it is truly devastating,” Rhineland-Palatinate premier Malu Dreyer told state lawmakers.

NRW leader Armin Laschet, who is running to succeed Chancellor Angela Merkel in September elections, cancelled a party meeting in Bavaria to visit the scene in his state, Germany’s most populous.

“The situation is alarming,” Laschet told the daily Bild.

Four of the dead in Germany were in the municipality of Schuld south of Bonn where six houses were swept away by floods, a police spokesman in the city of Koblenz told AFP.

Several of the dead were recovered from flooded cellars while another eight people were reported dead in the district of Euskirchen.

In NRW alone, 135,000 households were without power.

Emergency workers struggled to evacuate people in endangered buildings and two firemen were killed in the line of duty in the towns of Altena and Werdohl.

 

 Rising rivers

An aerial view taken on on July 14, 2021 shows a flooded intersection in Hagen, western Germany, after heavy rain hit parts of the country, causing widespread flooding.
INA FASSBENDER / AFP

 

Police set up a crisis hotline for people to report missing loved ones and residents were asked to send in videos and photos that could help them in the search.

Rescue workers were deployed in helicopters to pluck people off streets and rooftops.

Regional official Juergen Pfoehler called on people to stay home “and, if possible, go to higher floors” of their houses.

The German military said it would deploy 300 soldiers across the two affected states to assist in rescue efforts.

Farther north in the city of Leverkusen, a power outage triggered by the storms led to the evacuation of a hospital with 468 patients.

City authorities reported that after intensive care patients were moved to other facilities overnight, the other wards would have to be cleared in the course of the day.

The environment ministry in Rhineland-Palatinate warned it expected floodwaters on the Rhine and Moselle rivers to rise with more rainfall.

 

‘Rarely experienced’

A man looks at a railway crossing damaged by the floods on July 15, 2021 in Priorei near Hagen, western Germany, after heavy rain hit parts of the country, causing widespread flooding. 
SASCHA SCHUERMANN / AFP

 

Neighbouring Belgium has also seen several days of heavy rain that has caused rivers in the French-speaking region of Wallonia to burst their banks. Two were reported dead.

The provinces of Liege and Namur were especially affected, with the resort town of Spa completely flooded. In the town of Chaudfontaine, daily Le Soir reported that nearly 1,800 people had to evacuate.

“We have rarely experienced such intense flooding. You have to go back to 1998 to have experienced this,” Chaudefontaine mayor Daniel Bacquelaine told RTL radio.

The country’s Infrabel rail network said it was suspending services in the southern half of the country on Thursday, given the risks to travel.

“It is indeed impossible to ensure the safe movement of trains for passengers or to have access to strategic areas for their staff,” Transport Minister Georges Gilkinet told Belga news agency.

The southern Dutch province of Limburg which is bordered by Germany and Belgium also reported widespread damage with rising waters threatening to cut off the small city of Valkenburg west of Maastricht.

Local news footage showed small rivers of water flowing through the scenic city centre’s streets and at least one old age home had been evacuated.

Officials also closed off several roads including the busy A2 highway, while fears remained that water from heavy rains in Germany and Belgium would push up river levels as it reached the Netherlands.

Meanwhile, the Luxembourg government set up a crisis cell to respond to emergencies triggered by heavy rains overnight as Prime Minister Xavier Bettel reported “several homes” had been flooded and were “no longer inhabitable”.

-AFP.

 

Benin Royal Museum Is Rightful Place For Return Of Stolen Artefacts – Oba of Benin

The Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II speaks during a press conference at his palace in Benin City on July 9, 2021.

 

The Oba of Benin, His Royal Majesty Ewuare II, has said repatriated Benin Bronzes should be returned to the Benin Royal Museum to be cited within the precincts of his palace.

At a press briefing in his palace on Friday, the Oba called on the Federal Government to take custody of the artefacts when repatriated until the royal museum is ready.

The Oba’s intervention and comments follow the controversy over where the artefacts, looted by British soldiers during the invasion of the Benin Kingdom, ought to be kept when returned.

 

According to him, individuals or institutions dealing with the private company, Legacy Restoration Trust, regarding the return of the looted artefacts does so at their own risk and against the will of the Benin people.

READ ALSO: Germany To Return 1,130 Looted Nigerian Artefacts In 2022

He advised Governor Godwin Obaseki to review the use of a private company to pursue the return of the artefacts, adding that the items should be returned where they were taken from.

 

On May 18, Germany, through its Director-General of Culture and Communication, Dr Andreas Gorgen, said his country was on a restitution mission to Nigeria to return all artefacts taken from the Benin Empire.

The announcement had led to questions over where the stolen artefacts – bronze, wooden, brass, metal and ivory tusks; collectively known as the Benin bronzes – would be returned to.

FG, Obaseki Firm Up Agreement

Meanwhile, the Federal Government, Edo State Government and the Benin royal family have concluded a meeting in Germany towards the return of stolen artefacts to Edo State.

The meeting in Berlin was attended by the German Minister of State for Culture, Prof. Monika Grutters, and Foreign Minister, Mr. Heiko Maas, while the Nigerian delegation includes the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; the Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki.

 

The Benin Royal Palace was represented by the Crown Prince of Benin Kingdom, Prince Ezelekhae Ewuare.

At the meeting, Lai Mohammed insisted on a full and unconditional return of the 1,130 Benin artefacts domiciled in German museums, adding that the return should be whole rather than substantial. He said this in the wake of remarks by Grutters that the European nation was ready to make a ‘substantial return’ of the 1,130 looted artefacts.

Mohammed said the issue of provenance, which has to do with the place of origin of the artefacts, should not be allowed to unduly delay the repatriation of the art works, noting, “That they are known as Benin Bronzes, which is already a confirmation of their source of origin (which is Benin).”

At a separate meeting with Maas, Mohammed also reiterated that no condition should be attached to the return of the artefacts.

He stressed the need for the parties to commit to definite timelines for the return of the Benin Bronzes in addition to concluding all necessary negotiations in a very short term.

He added that the discussions between Nigeria and Germany on the return of the artworks was not the end of an era, but rather the beginning of a new vista of stronger relations, pivoted by cultural diplomacy between both countries.

The Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II speaks during a press conference at his palace in Benin City on July 9, 2021.

 

The Minister thanked Germany for taking the lead in the global efforts to repatriate all artefacts that were looted from Nigeria and the African continent, adding “We see Germany as a leader in the efforts to take practical steps to repatriate our stolen artefacts, and we hope Germany will sustain that lead.”

Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, who was also on the Nigerian delegation, said a “transformational” museum is to be built in Benin City, to house the artefacts upon their return, as part of a new cultural district in the city.

The governor said he was attending the talks to demonstrate the strong partnership involving the Federal Government of Nigeria, the (Benin) Royal family and the people of Edo State.

Earlier, the German Minister of State for Culture, Prof. Grutters, said “the way we deal with the issue of Benin Bronzes is important to addressing our colonial past,” describing the issues as “an important personal concern.”

She assured the 1,130 artefacts would be returned to Nigeria from the beginning of 2022, noting that Germany had twice sent delegations to Nigeria for talks over the planned repatriation. She said such a move indicated that both sides had moved beyond mere talks, saying all the Museums in Germany stockpiling Benin Bronzes have agreed to cooperate.

Other people on the Nigerian delegation were the Nigerian Ambassador to Germany, Mr. Yusuf Tuggar and Director-General of the National Commission for Museums and Monument (NCMM), Prof. Abba Tijani.

They were later taken on a guided tour of the Humboldt-Forum, a royal palace turned museum in the heart of Berlin that houses artworks from around the world.

See more photos from the press conference below:

Queen To Host Germany’s Merkel During UK Visit

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and Britain’s Princess Anne, Princess Royal gesture during a visit to The Children’s Wood Project in Glasgow on June 30, 2021, as part of her traditional trip to Scotland for Holyrood Week. (Photo by Andrew Milligan / POOL / AFP)

 

Queen Elizabeth II will host German Chancellor Angela Merkel when she visits Britain this week, Buckingham Palace said on Wednesday.

The Queen, who has met the chancellor several times during Merkel’s 16 years in power, will host the German leader at Windsor Castle, west of London.

Merkel’s visit is expected to be her last to Britain after the announcement she will retire from politics after upcoming legislative elections.

The chancellor was also among leaders hosted at this month’s G7 summit in Cornwall, southwest England, which the 95-year-old Queen attended.

On Friday, the German leader will meet with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at his Chequers country retreat northwest of London.

The pair are expected to discuss Britain’s fractious post-Brexit relationship with the European Union, which overshadowed discussions at the G7.

Checks on goods between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK under a protocol, signed separately from the Brexit trade deal agreed in December, has proven a particular point of contention between London and other European capitals.

Merkel has led the charge for the 27-member bloc to quarantine travellers from Britain and stop the spread on the continent of a more transmissible Delta variant strain of the coronavirus first identified in India.

AFP

From Brazil Highs To Lows In Russia, Germany’s ‘Eternal’ Coach Loew Bows Out

File photo:  Germany’s headcoach Joachim Loew attends a press conference ahead of the UEFA EURO 2020 qualification football match between Germany and Belarus in Duesseldorf, western Germany, on November 15, 2019. INA FASSBENDER / AFP

 

Joachim Loew led Germany to the high of their 2014 World Cup triumph, but his 15-year reign as coach ended Tuesday with the low of a rare defeat to England in the last 16 of Euro 2020.

Having scraped through their group with a 2-2 draw against Hungary, Germany bow out with a 2-0 defeat at Wembley, their first loss against England in the knockout stages of a major tournament since the 1966 World Cup final.

It was a sad end for the 61-year-old, known as “Jogi” by his peers and who had been at Germany’s helm since 2006.

The high point of his tenure was the victory in the 2014 World Cup final in Brazil but he never really recovered from the low of the World Cup in Russia three years later, when Germany finished bottom of their group.

Getting out of their European Championship group was the bare minimum expected of Loew’s Germany, who bounced back from defeat to France in their opening game with a 4-2 win over holders Portugal before that nerve-shredding draw with Hungary.

His run as national head coach rivals Angela Merkel’s 16 years in office as Chancellor, earning him the nickname of Germany’s “eternal coach”.

However, he walks away with his once-golden reputation tarnished by a succession of defeats which started with the disastrous World Cup campaign in Russia three years ago when Germany were beaten by Mexico and South Korea.

It was further damaged by a 6-0 thrashing by Spain last November — the German team’s heaviest defeat since 1931 — and a shock home defeat to minnows North Macedonia in a World Cup qualifier in March.

Calls for Loew to step aside were already loud after the debacle in Russia, but he insisted he would stay on to make amends at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

However with his confidence rattled, Loew announced in early March that Euro 2020 would be his last tournament.

His replacement, his one-time assistant coach Hansi Flick who masterminded Bayern Munich’s treble-winning season in 2019/20, takes charge in time for September’s World Cup qualifiers.

READ ALSO: England Face Germany In Euro 2020 Blockbuster After France Make Shock Exit

Icon

Germany’s coach Joachim Loew hugs Germany’s forward Thomas Mueller at the end of the UEFA EURO 2020 round of 16 football match between England and Germany at Wembley Stadium in London on June 29, 2021. Frank Augstein / POOL / AFP

 

Loew, a former centre-forward who played most of his football in Germany’s second division, arrived at the national team as assistant coach to Jurgen Klinsmann in 2004.

After taking the reins as head coach in 2006, he led the team to the final of Euro 2008 and then the semi-finals of both the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012.

He won the ultimate prize in Brazil, a 1-0 win against Argentina in the final earning Germany the 2014 World Cup after a thrilling campaign in which they also trounced the host nation 7-1 in the semi-finals.

Under Loew, Germany ditched their reputation for defence-minded football and began to play a faster tempo.

The coach himself became an icon in Germany and began appearing in advertisements, peddling skin-care products for Nivea to holidays with Tui.

Behind his unassuming exterior, Loew, who was trained as a wholesale trader, harboured high ambitions of a place in the history books.

Just after lifting the World Cup, he voiced his wish to be Germany’s first coach to also win the European Championship straight after a global crown.

After hosts France knocked out Germany at the semi-final stage of Euro 2016, Loew set himself the challenge of winning consecutive World Cups.

Yet things slowly began to unravel, then plunged irreversibly during the 2018 Russian campaign.

While the German Football Association (DFB) repeatedly held off from sacking him, Loew had already lost his allure.

After a difficult autumn that was topped off by a Nations League thrashing against Spain, a poll at the end of November found that 84 percent of Germany fans wanted Loew to go.

German media were also increasingly vocal in their criticism of the coach.

The main charge against him has been his stubborn refusal to change tactics despite poor results.

Nevertheless, his record of 124 wins in 198 matches as Germany’s head coach is a tally in the record books which will likely stand for quite some time.

AFP

England Face Germany In Euro 2020 Blockbuster After France Make Shock Exit

England’s defender Kyle Walker (C) takes part in an MD-1 training session at the team’s base camp in St George’s Park in Burton-on-Trent, on June 28, 2021, on the eve of their UEFA EURO 2020 round of 16 football match against Germany. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP)

 

 

England can avenge decades of hurt at the hands of Germany when they face their old rivals in a blockbuster Euro 2020 last-16 clash on Tuesday after the tournament was rocked by France’s stunning exit.

Gareth Southgate’s side host Germany at Wembley at 1600 GMT in what is England’s biggest match on home turf for 25 years.

England beat the Germans to win the 1966 World Cup final, but their major tournament history has been littered with painful exits against them since then.

 

Germany supporters pose before the UEFA EURO 2020 round of 16 football match between France and Switzerland at the National Arena in Bucharest on June 28, 2021. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / various sources / AFP)

 

A quarter-final loss at the 1970 World Cup ended England’s reign as champions, while the 1990 World Cup semi-final defeat on penalties is still etched in the nation’s psyche.

When England last played at home in a tournament, Southgate was the Euro 96 fall guy as he missed a crucial penalty in the semi-final shoot-out defeat.

There was also a heavy defeat at the 2010 World Cup yet Southgate, aware of the debilitating weight of that history, insists the tie is not a chance to exorcise the ghosts of past England failures.

Instead, he believe it is a chance for his players to add a memorable new chapter to their personal stories.

“This team, I’ve said for a long time, have had so many unique achievements and my focus is on this team and helping them to succeed,” Southgate said.

“This is about our players. This is their moment and it’s their opportunity.”

– ‘Loser goes home’ –
Asked if perhaps his Euro 96 pain would give his players extra motivation to win it for him, Southgate said: “Good grief, no. I don’t think we’ll be relying on that!

“So, no, this is about them. This is about them having a chance to achieve something, and certainly not for me to take any shine off of that.”

England have never won the European Championship and a victory against Germany would be only their second knockout stage win in the history of the competition.

In contrast, Germany have been crowned kings of Europe three times, with the most recent success coming in 1996.

However, Germany travelled to London in the unusual position of fearing defeat against England.

Joachim Loew’s team stumbled into the last 16 after rescuing a 2-2 draw against Hungary in their final group game.

Germany are not the intimidating force of old and, with Loew stepping down at the end of the tournament, a defeat would signal the end of an era.

Despite winning the World Cup in 2014, Loew has been criticised for his role in a humiliating group-stage exit from the 2018 World Cup and a series of poor results before the Euro.

“All in all, I thought about it for two seconds,” said Loew ahead of potentially his last game.

“This is my passion. My whole focus is on the match and I hope we will succeed.”

England will have the vast majority of a 40,000 crowd on their side at Wembley and Loew expects a spine-tingling encounter.

“This is a match which electrifies everybody. For both teams, it’s in or out, it’s now or never, the loser goes home,” he said.

The winner will face a quarter-final in Rome against the winner of Tuesday’s late tie between Sweden and Ukraine, which will be played in Glasgow.

 

TOPSHOT – France’s forward Kylian Mbappe (L) reacts to his miss as Switzerland’s goalkeeper Yann Sommer celebrates his save during the UEFA EURO 2020 round of 16 football match between France and Switzerland at the National Arena in Bucharest on June 28, 2021. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / POOL / AFP)

 

France’s forward Kylian Mbappe reacts after missing a penalty in the penalty shootout during the UEFA EURO 2020 round of 16 football match between France and Switzerland at the National Arena in Bucharest on June 28, 2021. (Photo by Justin Setterfield / POOL / AFP)

 

– Mbappe misses decisive penalty –
Whatever happens on Tuesday it will struggle to live up to the drama of Monday, when world champions France suffered a stunning defeat against Switzerland, losing 5-4 on penalties after a thrilling 3-3 draw in Bucharest as Kylian Mbappe missed the vital kick.

France trailed to Haris Seferovic’s first-half header and could have fallen further behind when Ricardo Rodriguez’s 55th-minute penalty was saved by Hugo Lloris.

Karim Benzema scored twice in 244 seconds immediately after that miss to put France ahead.

Paul Pogba increased their lead with a stunning strike, but Seferovic struck again in the 81st minute and Mario Gavranovic equalised in stoppage time.

Yann Sommer was Switzerland’s hero in the shootout as the goalkeeper saved Mbappe’s penalty to seal an incredible giant-killing.

“Penalties are always cruel for one team and unfortunately it was us,” said France coach Didier Deschamps.

“We are not used to it, but we will have to accept it.”

 

Switzerland’s goalkeeper Yann Sommer reacts after saving a shot by France’s forward Kylian Mbappe in the penalty shootout during the UEFA EURO 2020 round of 16 football match between France and Switzerland at the National Arena in Bucharest on June 28, 2021. (Photo by Justin Setterfield / POOL / AFP)

 

In the quarter-finals, Switzerland face Spain, who hit back for an epic 5-3 extra-time win against Croatia after blowing the lead in Copenhagen.

Pablo Sarabia, Cesar Azpilicueta and Ferran Torres netted to put Spain 3-1 ahead with 13 minutes left after Pedri’s own goal had given Croatia the lead.

Mislav Orsic and Mario Pasalic scored in the last five minutes to force extra time, but Spain prevailed thanks to goals from Alvaro Morata and Mikel Oyarzabal.

UEFA Launch Probe Into ‘Discriminatory Incidents’ During Germany-Hungary Match

Germany’s forward Kai Havertz scores during the UEFA EURO 2020 Group F football match between Germany and Hungary at the Allianz Arena in Munich on June 23, 2021. (Photo by Matthias Hangst / POOL / AFP)

 

 

UEFA announced on Friday it had launched an investigation into “potential discriminatory incidents” during Germany’s 2-2 draw with Hungary which was overshadowed by a row over a new Hungarian anti-LGBTQ law.

European football’s governing body did not specify in its statement what incidents were being investigated during the Euro 2020 match in Munich, which finished with the Germans qualifying for the last 16 and Hungary going out of the competition.

However, a UEFA spokesperson told AFP that the probe regards “incidents and behaviour in the stands”.

German daily Bild reported that Hungary supporters — who are already being investigated for monkey chants during their team’s 1-1 draw with France in Budapest — directed anti-gay chants at Germany fans before kick-off on Wednesday.

An AFP journalist saw fans of both teams, including German wearing rainbow colours, locked in angry exchanges which led to police intervening.

The match build-up had been dominated by UEFA’s refusal to allow the city of Munich to light the Allianz Arena in rainbow colours in solidarity with Hungary’s LGBTQ community.

UEFA and the government of Hungary came under a hail of criticism after Budapest’s new anti-LGBTQ law and the football body’s refusal to light the Munich stadium.

Fans came to the game in rainbow colours, and one German supporter invaded the pitch with a rainbow flag during the Hungarian national anthem.

Man With Knife Kills Several People In German City Of Wuerzburg

Police officers secure the city center in Wuerzburg, southern Germany on June 25, 2021. Karl-Josef Hildenbrand / dpa / AFP
Police officers secure the city center in Wuerzburg, southern Germany on June 25, 2021. Karl-Josef Hildenbrand / dpa / AFP

 

Several people were killed and others injured on Friday in the southern German city of Wuerzburg, police said, with media reporting a knife attack.

“The attacker was overpowered after the police used firearms. There are several injured as well as fatalities,” said police on Twitter, without giving details on the suspect’s motives.

German news outlets reported that the suspect had attacked people in the city-centre with a knife.

Police were able to arrest the man after shooting him in the leg, the Bild newspaper reported, adding that at least three people were killed and six others injured.

While the motive and full identity of the perpetrator have not yet been established, Germany has been on high alert after several deadly Islamist extremist attacks.

Suspected Islamists have committed several attacks in Germany in recent years, the deadliest being a truck rampage at a Berlin Christmas market in December 2016 that killed 12 people.

The Tunisian attacker, a failed asylum seeker, was a supporter of the Islamic State jihadist group.

More recently, one man was killed and another seriously injured in an Islamist knife attack in the city of Dresden in October.

A 20-year-old Syrian jihadist in May received a life sentence for the homophobic attack.

In August, six people were injured in a series of motorway accidents in Berlin in what prosecutors described as a suspected Islamist attack.

The number of Islamists considered dangerous in Germany rose sharply between 2015 and 2018, according to security services.

But numbers have declined since then, with just 615 considered dangerous by the latest count — compared with 730 in January 2018.

On top of that, there are also 521 people “who have attracted the attention of the security services but have not yet reached the stage of being considered dangerous”.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has allowed in more than one million asylum seekers since 2015 — a decision that has driven the rise of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, which charges that the influx spells a heightened security risk.

But beyond Islamist attacks, there have been other assaults by knife-wielding people.

In October 2017, a knife-wielding man randomly attacked passersby in central Munich, lightly injuring eight people. Police excluded terrorism as a motive after detaining the suspected perpetrator.

 

AFP

‘Wembley Suits Us’ – Germany Relish Facing England In Last 16

(L-R) Germany’s midfielder Toni Kroos, Germany’s goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, Germany’s forward Kevin Volland and Germany’s defender Antonio Ruediger react after the UEFA EURO 2020 Group F football match between Germany and Hungary at the Allianz Arena in Munich on June 23, 2021. (Photo by Matthias Hangst / POOL / AFP)

 

 

Manuel Neuer says Germany are relishing a return to Wembley to face England in the last 16 of Euro 2020, 25 years after breaking English hearts at the tournament.

Germany were facing elimination from Group F on Wednesday until second-half replacement Leon Goretzka fired in the crucial late equaliser to seal a 2-2 draw with Hungary which put Joachim Loew’s side into the last 16.

Germany now face Gareth Southgate’s England in London next Tuesday for a place in the quarter-finals.

“It was a thriller, tough on the nerves,” said relieved Germany goalkeeper Neuer.

“England will be a completely different game. We want to go further. And Wembley suits us,” he added with a grin.

 

Hungary’s midfielder Andras Schafer (R) scores his team’s second goal past Germany’s goalkeeper Manuel Neuer during the UEFA EURO 2020 Group F football match between Germany and Hungary at the Allianz Arena in Munich on June 23, 2021. (Photo by KAI PFAFFENBACH / POOL / AFP)

 

England will be looking to avenge their Euro 96 semi-final defeat to Germany at Wembley when the hosts lost on penalties while the Germans went on to beat the Czech Republic in the final.

Hungary took a shock lead in Munich through captain Adam Szalai. Kai Havertz headed in Germany’s second-half equaliser, but the visitors scored again less than two minutes later through Andras Schaefer.

Goretzka spared Germany’s blushes when the Bayern Munich midfielder came off the bench and smashed in the equaliser six minutes from time.

“I am delighted, we have no doubts now and are full of confidence,” said Goretzka.

Germany coach Loew admitted his side made plenty of mistakes, but vowed “we will be better against England, I can promise that.”