Schweinsteiger returns for Germany's semi-final clash with France

Captain Bastian Schweinsteiger is fit and will start Germany's Euro 2016 semi-final with France on Thursday, coach Joachim Loew has confirmed.

"Schweinsteiger will start, he will be in the starting 11," Loew told a news conference in Marseille on Wednesday. "He trained this morning and did not complain. He is 100 per cent cured.

"I think for our side he's very important in such a game, his experience is very important."

Schweinsteiger suffered a knee ligament injury in the quarter-final win over Italy and his recovery is a boost as fellow midfielder Sami Khedira is out with an adductor problem.

Earlier Tuesday Benedikt Hoewedes also returned to team training having sat out on Tuesday as a precaution. With Mats Hummels suspended, Hoewedes is widely expected to play alongside Jerome Boateng in a return to the flat back four used in the opening games before the switch to a defensive trio against Italy.

Striker Mario Gomez is also absent having been ruled out for the tournament with a thigh injury.

"We have a lot of respect for France, throughout the tournament they've improved, they have individual quality, but I don't think we fear them," midfielder Toni Kroos said. "We know this will be a very good opponent when we play against them."

Kroos dismissed concerns that Germany could be tired from their extra-time exertions against Italy, especially as they had an extra day to recover compared to France.

"We had a more physical, intensive match but France played one day later so I don't think this will have any effect," he said. "If we don't succeed, I won't use the Italy game as an excuse."

When Germany won the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, they thrashed the hosts 7-1 in the semi-final - and Kroos was hopeful of leaving another set of home fans disappointed now.

"There'll be enthusiasm for them but of course there'll be pressure too and we'll use that," he said.

Loew was more circumspect, saying "there's not too much we can take out of that game" from 2014 and that the France defence was more solid than that of the Brazilians.

"These games are a question of will. Motivation in such a game is important, the will to win," he said. "Depending on what happens in the match we could see another extra-time, then it could be about details."

Last update: Wed, 06/07/2016 - 23:54
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