Injury doubts over Schweinsteiger and Boateng make coach think twice

Arrogant Germans? Not a bit of it. Whether it is a calculated public relations pitch or a genuinely honest approach, the German camp is full of praise for England – who are being billed as the vastly experienced class act taking on their own Young Boys.

Or as the eloquent coach Joachim Löw put it at lunchtime yesterday: "It's youthful lightness against international class. England remain England. They can fight, they can run, they are mentally strong and incredibly experienced. The English have a never-say-die attitude and the great fight and commitment they bring to the fore. Despite the high tempo, they have a superb technical level as well."

Instead of writing his team off completely, however, he did manage to add: "Germany have never approached any of these games with fear. Great respect yes, but we won't go into hiding or put our heads in the sand. While we have a young team, we will be able to hold our own."

On their own admission, the Germans have performed to potential only once in their three group games. That was the opener, in which Australia were brushed aside 4-0. In the next game, Serbia were able to achieve an unexpected victory after the Bayern Munich striker Miroslav Klose was sent off. He will return tomorrow, but he was missed in the 1-0 win over Ghana that secured top position in the group.

Löw admitted: "I was very critical with our team. Particularly as far as our strikers are concerned and our attacking moves. The final third, we just weren't good enough in terms of running patterns and precision passing. And let's not talk about finishing. I want my attackers to be more focused, not lose any balls and allow the opponents to counter-attack. This is something the English will be able to exploit. Give Rooney and Gerrard lots of space and they cannot be stopped."

The captain, Philipp Lahm, whose job it will be to prevent the link-up play between that pair, echoed his master's voice and even claimed that it was invaluable experience not to have won the group as easily as many were expecting. "Everyone knows this is a developing team," he said.

"That is why it is important we didn't win clearly and passed through some difficult moments. It was good for us to suffer for some parts of the game."

Lahm believes that Bastian Schweinsteiger will be fit but his coach was a lot less sure. Speaking of the player he calls "the heart of the team" and the left-back, Jerome Boateng, who is joining Manchester City, Löw said : "There is a major question mark over both players. Neither will train today due to these muscle problems; it would be too much of a risk. We need players who are 100 per cent fit, who can give their all. Ninety per cent is not sufficient."

Yesterday, when the players went to a game park before training, Lahm was inevitably asked if they had encountered three lions. "Yes," he replied, "but it was a bit of a petting zoo, so we had them in our hands. On Sunday, the treatment we give to these lions will definitely be more aggressive."

The mood overall was warm and tolerant. But please don't mention the war, British media and supporters were requested. "It is high time to forget these things," Löw said. "This is 2010 with a unified Europe and reverting to these old war themes is absolutely out of place."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Ray Whelan was arrested earlier this week
Arts and Entertainment
In a minor key: Keira Knightley in the lightweight 'Begin Again'
Arts and Entertainment
Celebrated children’s author Allan Ahlberg, best known for Each Peach Pear Plum
peopleIndian actress known as the 'Grand Old Lady of Bollywood' was 102
Wayne’s estate faces a claim for alleged copyright breaches
newsJohn Wayne's heirs duke it out with university over use of the late film star's nickname
Life and Style
It beggars belief: the homeless and hungry are weary, tortured, ghosts of people – with bodies contorted by imperceptible pain
lifeRough sleepers exist in every city. Hear the stories of those whose luck has run out
Mick Jagger performing at Glastonbury
Life and Style
fashionJ Crew introduces triple zero size to meet the Asia market demand
Santi Cazorla, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini of Arsenal launch the new Puma Arsenal kits at the Puma Store on Carnaby Street
sportMassive deal worth £150m over the next five years
Arts and Entertainment
Welsh opera singer Katherine Jenkins
musicHolyrood MPs 'staggered' at lack of Scottish artists performing
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
Arts and Entertainment
Currently there is nothing to prevent all-male or all-female couples from competing against mixed sex partners at any of the country’s ballroom dancing events
Potential ban on same-sex partners in ballroom dancing competitions amounts to 'illegal discrimination'
Caption competition
Caption competition

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice