World Cup 2010 - Schweinsteiger could miss out

Thu, 24 Jun 13:28:00 2010

Bastian Schweinsteiger could miss Germany's last-16 match against England on Sunday in Bloemfontein after picking up an injury in the final group stage game.

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The playmaker, arguably the cornerstone of coach Joachim Loew's team, is doubtful after picking up a muscle injury late in the game against Ghana.

"He has sustained a thigh injury. The doctors say time is running out but we hope he can play because he is an important player," said assistant coach Hansi Flick.

Schweinsteiger has become a leading figure in the team since captain Michael Ballack was injured before the finals and his absence could be costly as Germany seek a quarter-final place.

Midfielder Toni Kroos came on for Schweinsteiger against the Black Stars.

Flick also said that Jerome Boateng, who started against Ghana in place of left back Holger Badstuber, was doubtful with a calf injury for the match.

Mesut Ozil, who scored the winner against Ghana, twisted his ankle but will be fit to play against England. Loew will have striker Miroslav Klose back for that match after he sat out his one-match suspension for a red card.

And the Germany boss is relishing the forthcoming match.

"We have a very young squad and many playing are playing a World Cup for the first time so it was great to go through the fire tonight and from now it is win it or lose it," Loew said.

"But the joy of preparing for England match is huge."

The three-time World Cup winners managed a meagre 1-0 win over Ghana in their final Group D match on Wednesday to move top of their group and set up a mouth-watering encounter with England, a repeat of so many memorable past World Cup matches.

"We know what a great match England versus Germany is," said captain Philipp Lahm. "It is a World Cup classic. But we must play better. We must improve our defensive operation."

Germany had to soak up waves of Ghanaian attacks who lacked, however, any clinical finish.

It is unlikely to be the same against England in Bloemfontein, buoyed by their 1-0 win over Slovenia, that saw them advance after a poor start to the tournament.

"They have great players, world-class players and it will be an extremely difficult opponent," Lahm said.

Germany's defence will have far more work than they had on Wednesday, with England striker Wayne Rooney looking sharper in their last match even if he is yet to make his mark in this tournament.

The Germans, with their youngest World Cup squad in 76 years, will be out to improve on their record against England which currently stands at 10 German victories, six draws and 15 defeats in 31 encounters stretching back to 1908.

"We all know what these matches are about," Germany striker Lukas Podolski said. "Today we did not have our tempo and pace but we will look sharper against England."

Reuters

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