GERMANY are sweating on the fitness of key trio Bastian Schweinsteiger, Mesut Ozil and Jerome Boateng ahead of Sunday’s clash with England.
Midfielders Schweinsteiger and Ozil and defender Boateng all suffered minor knocks in Wednesday’s final Group D match against Ghana, which Germany won 1-0.
Assistant coach Hans-Dieter Flick admitted it would be a major blow to lose any of the three likely starters, but is hopeful they will recover in time.
“Jerome has a bit of a calf strain and Schweini has a hamstring problem,” said Flick.
“For both I have to admit it might be a bit critical for them to be in the starting line-up on Sunday, but we are optimistic.
“Ozil seems to have twisted his ankle but he is not in pain and I think we will get him be fit for Sunday’s game.”
Bayern Munich star Schweinsteiger is the driving force in Joachim Low’s midfield, while Werder Bremen’s Ozil is their most creative player and one of the revelations of the tournament. Boateng, who will join Manchester City after the World Cup, started all three of Germany’s group games.
Meanwhile, Wayne Rooney was able to join his England colleagues for a gym session yesterday despite hurting his ankle against Slovenia. Injured defender Ledley King stepped up his recovery by taking part in an individual session, but Aaron Lennon and Michael Carrick sat out.
Winger Lennon, replaced by James Milner against Slovenia, and midfielder Carrick, who has not played at all yet, are both nursing ankle problems.