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Merkel to attend German-Greek football match

06-21-2012 00:10 BJT Special Report:EURO 2012 |

BERLIN, June 20 (Xinhua) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel will attend Germany's European Championship quarterfinal match against Greece on Friday, a government spokesman said Wednesday.

Merkel would be free to watch the match in Gdansk, Poland, because her prearranged meeting with her Italian and Spanish counterparts in Rome had been moved earlier at her request, Georg Streiter said at a regular news conference in Berlin.

Amid the spiraling eurozone debt crisis, the chancellor's presence could add spice to Friday's game between eurozone's most troubled economy and its paymaster.

Merkel has been known for pushing Greece harder to implement structural reforms and cut its budgetary spending in return for bailouts, which has made her unpopular among the Greeks public.

The chancellor bears only "hopes for an exciting and fair match," Streiter said, adding that she was invited by Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk.

Merkel joined other European leaders in a diplomatic boycott of Ukraine in protest against the treatment of jailed Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko, and did not attend any of the three previous group matches of German national team.

"The Greeks played fantastically against Russia, and it won't be an easy game. However, the German squad is in peak form," Streiter said.

Streiter said Merkel might meet with Antonis Samaras, Greece's New Democracy (ND) party leader who was sworn in on Wednesday as Greece's new Prime Minister, "during the halftime interval."

"If he is there, they will greet each other and then talk about football: about offsides and other trivialities," the spokesman said.

German football association DFB said Merkel's presence was always auspicious for the national team.


Editor:Bai Yang |Source: Xinhua

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