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How Belarus is fighting the coronavirus: vodka first, football second

The Belarusian Premier League kicked off the 2020 season defiantly last weekend, earning the dubious honor of being one of just five leagues in action across the globe.

Belarusian football is not something even the most fanatical game lovers across the globe have been following over the years. Belarus is ranked 32nd out of 56 UEFA member associations, between Liechtenstein and Israel, while the national team -- ranked 87th, between Haiti and Zambia, in the FIFA World Ranking -- has never qualified for any major tournaments. (The best effort: finishing third in their World Cup qualifying group, two points shy of reaching the playoffs... in 2002.)

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Belarus defiant amid coronavirus crisis as season kicks off with fans

Zlatan Ibrahimovic launches a fundraiser to "kick coronavirus away" in typical Zlatan fashion.
Botafogo players become the latest to wear masks in protest, unveiling a "coronavirus: Protect yourself" banner.

As football around the world shut down amid the coronavirus pandemic, defiant Belarus kicked off its new season on Thursday and said it would even allow spectators to watch the games.

Energetik BGU got the Belarus Premier League underway with a 3-1 win over BATE Borisov and a live stream of the game showed at least several hundred fans watching in the main stand.

Earlier, Vladimir Bazanov, the head of the Belarus Football Federation, said on its official website that only 51 cases of coronavirus...

Ginter the inspiration as Germany clinch Euro 2020 spot

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Euro Qualifying: Toni Kroos (83') Germany 4-0 Belarus. Watch Euro Qualifying on ESPN+.

Defender Matthias Ginter scored one goal and was involved in two more as Germany comfortably saw off Belarus 4-0 on Saturday to clinch their place at Euro 2020, qualifying for the finals for a record 13th time in a row.

The inspired Ginter broke the deadlock in the 41st minute with a clever backheel, provided a dummy which allowed Leon Goreztka to score the second and the pass for Toni Kroos to add the third.

Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer saved a penalty from Igor Stasevich in the 75th minute...