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Thunderstorm and hail disrupts Germany-Denmark game at Euro 2024

DORTMUND, Germany (AP) — A thunderstorm and hail suspended the Germany-Denmark round-of-16 clash at the European Championship and forced the players back under cover on Saturday.

One person who knew just how important it was to keep the players safe was Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand, who was assistant coach of the Nordsjaelland team when one of its players, Jonathan Richter, was struck by lightning during a game in 2009.

Richter spent 11 days in a coma and had to have the lower part of his left leg amputated.

“I was not afraid but I was looking after the security of the players. Yes, I was involved in a match at a stadium where the lightning hit one of our players,” Hjulmand said.

“This lightning was straight over Signal Iduna Park (the Dortmund stadium). I saw my players react very much and it was the right thing to do to call it off.”

Referee Michael Oliver took the teams off in the 35th minute. When the weather cleared, the teams had a brief warmup and the game resumed 24 minutes after it had stopped. The slippery field began to cut up but remained playable for the rest of the game.

Germany eventually won 2-0 for a place in the quarterfinals, where it will play Spain or Georgia in Stuttgart on July 5.

The score was 0-0 when the referee took the players off with rain pouring, high winds and repeated lightning strikes near the Westfalenstadion. A loud bang resounded around the stadium shortly before the players were taken off.

Hail was even falling on the field during the interruption in a stark contrast to the previously warm summer evening.

“Due to adverse weather conditions the match has been suspended. Further information will follow shortly,” read an announcement on the stadium screens.

Fans in the front rows of the stadium’s famed South Stand moved under cover as the gale blew torrents of rain onto their seats and water cascaded off the edge of the roof. Some German fans sang: “Oh, how lovely it is,” and a few Danish supporters danced in a torrent of water falling on their area of the stands.

Local police said two big-screen viewing parties in local fan zones in Dortmund were canceled because of the weather. “Please leave these locations,” police wrote on X. Two more fan zone events in nearby Gelsenkirchen were also called off as the strong winds damaged fences and hurled objects through the air, local authorities said, adding they were not aware of any injuries.

Severe weather events have been a regular problem for UEFA and European Championship organizers much more than for FIFA and the World Cup.

In 2008, co-host Switzerland played a group-stage game against Turkey through heavy rain in the first half at Basel. Puddles in the Turkey goalmouth helped Switzerland take the lead as the ball was stopped by the standing water for Hakan Yakin to tap in his shot.

Rain subsided and the puddles were mostly removed at halftime but the St. Jakob Park playing surface survived only one more game — another rainy affair between Switzerland and Portugal — before it had to be relaid ahead of the quarterfinals.

The operation to bring in a new turf from the Netherlands cost UEFA 200,000 euros ($214,000), it was reported at the time.

Heavy rains affected another co-host team at Euro 2012. Ukraine’s game against France in Donetsk was stopped after just five minutes of play by referee Björn Kuipers. Just when it seemed the teams would have to come back the next day to resume play at Donbas Arena, rain abated and the teams restarted after a 56-minute pause.

The effect on the television scheduled meant the subsequent game that day — Sweden vs England in Kyiv — was pushed back by 15 minutes.

In France, a Euro 2016 game was suspended for several minutes by a hail storm in Lyon, the Northern Ireland and Ukraine players coming off the field in the 58th minute.

One of the Euro 2016 stadiums did get a new Dutch-grown field laid before the quarterfinals after weeks of persistent rain and little sunshine in Lille.


Steve Douglas in Dortmund, Geir Moulson in Berlin and Graham Dunbar in Frankfurt contributed.


AP Euro 2024: https://ift.tt/zI0PbsO

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