German duo in the woes


ERASMIA, June 24 – Germany's Bastian Schweinsteiger and Jerome Boateng face a fitness battle to be ready for Sunday's World Cup Round of 16 clash with old rivals England, it was confirmed Thursday.Midfielder Schweinsteiger limped off with a hamstring injury in the 81st minute of Germany’s 1-0 win over Ghana on Wednesday night which booked their place in the last 16 where they will face England in Bloemfontein on Sunday.

Defender Boateng came with a calf strain in the 73rd minute, but Germany’s assistant coach Hansi Flick said the pair are receiving intensive treatment and there is optimism they will be fit to face Fabio Capello’s Three Lions.

"Jerome has a calf strain while Schweinsteiger has a hamstring strain, it might be difficult for them to be in the starting line-up," said Flick at the German team base on Thursday.

"We are relatively optimistic Bastian will be fit, we must wait and see.

"The team doctor says the recovery time is relatively short, so we are hopeful he will be able to be fit, because he has become a key player for us."

Midfielder Mesut Ozil, the man-of-the-match against Ghana whose 60th-minute right-footed strike from the edge of the area sealed the win, is expected to be fit for Sunday despite spraining an ankle towards the end of the Ghana match.

"He twisted his ankle, but he doesn’t have any pain and there should be no problem with him being fit for Sunday," said Flick.