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Germany-Netherlands friendly to go ahead

German football authorities have decided that the national team will play a friendly as planned against the Netherlands on Tuesday. The decision is a clear refusal to be cowed by the terrorist attacks in Paris.

The German Football Association (DFB) has confirmed that the country's national team will play its friendly against the Netherlands in the northern German city of Hanover on Tuesday.

"The message is clear: we will not allow ourselves to be intimidated by terrorism," one of the joint acting DFB presidents, Reinhard Rauball, said in a statement on the organization's homepage. "The fact that the team is taking the field against the Netherlands only a few days after the horrible experiences during the game in Paris is a clear signal. National coach Joachim Löw and every individual player on the team deserve respect for this demonstration of solidarity with the victims and the entire French people," Rauball said.

The decision came after the French national team decided to go ahead with a friendly of its own against England. National team manager Oliver Bierhoff said it was important for Germany to follow suit.

"We wanted as a team to make a statement of solidarity with the French people and the relatives of the victims," Bierhoff said on the DFB homepage. "The whole team - the players, the coaches and the assistants - are still quite shocked. Nevertheless, everyone knows that it's important to send a signal and stand up as a national team for our values and culture."

A German government spokesperson has confirmed that Chancellor Angela Merkel will attend the friendly on Tuesday.

"Democracy has to defend itself - we all need to stand up to terrorism together," Rauball's fellow acting DFB president, Rainer Koch, told German television earlier on Sunday. "Right now, football has an important social and political function."

Reaction on social media to the decision was overwhelmingly positive.

The Dutch football association (KNVB) also welcomed the DFB's resolve in going ahead with the game.

"We think the decision is good and are looking forward to the game, even if the phrase is doubtless the wrong expression in view of the terrible events in Paris," the KNVB said in a statement.

The German national team was forced to spend the night in the Stade de France on Friday evening after the attacks, which claimed at least 129 lives. Three suicide bombers detonated explosives in the immediate vicinity of the stadium during a friendly between the German and French national teams. On Sunday, the French sports daily L'Equipe reported that two of them had tried to gain access to the stadium.

The DFB is working on an enhanced security strategy for the Netherlands friendly.

"We'll be painstakingly reviewing and adapting the security measures in conjunction with local authorities," DFB security expert Hendrik Grosse Lefert told the SID news agency. "It is a tightrope walk, and you have to be very sensitive to the risks. But we'll be sending a message that the spectators can feel safe in the stadium."

jc/pfd (dpa,SID)

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