Tag Archives: joachim

Robert Lewandowski to Manchester United or Manchester City rumours played down

Dortmund chief plays down Lewandowski to Manchester rumours

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UPDATED:

16:36 GMT, 15 December 2012

Robert Lewandowski won't be joining either Manchester City or Manchester United at the end of the season, according to his club Borussia Dortmund.

The German champions have dismissed reports that the striker will move to City in exchange for Edin Dzeko next summer and rumours that he might leave for United in a 12m deal.

The 24-year-old marksman has nine goals in 15 Bundesliga matches this season, though Borussia are a long way behind runaway leaders Bayern Munich in the standings.

Manchester move Robert Lewandowski, seen here playing for Borussia Dortmund against Manchester City in the Champions League, could be on his way to either City or United

Manchester move Robert Lewandowski, seen here playing for Borussia Dortmund against Manchester City in the Champions League, could be on his way to either City or United

'There has been no contact from Manchester City, either about Robert Lewandowski or any other player,' said Dortmund chairman Hans-Joachim Watzke.

'There has also been no contact (about him) with any other club.'

Star buy: Lewandowski has scored nine goals in 15 Bundesliga matches already this season

Star buy: Lewandowski has scored nine goals in 15 Bundesliga matches already this season

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson personally scouted the Pole when Borussia played Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium in November, while Inter Milan and Arsenal have also been linked with him.

Dortmund have tried to get him to sign a new deal but it is believed the player would prefer to follow in the footsteps of Shinji Kagawa to Old Trafford.

Matthew Macklin set to fight Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr in Spring 2013

EXCLUSIVE: Macklin set for Chavez Jnr clash next Spring ahead of Martinez re-match

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UPDATED:

17:15 GMT, 14 December 2012

Matthew Macklin is closing in on a mouthwatering middleweight clash with Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr – which he hopes will propel him into a rematch with Sergio Martinez.

The Birmingham-born Irishman is recovering from surgery to his nose and expects to face Chavez in America in April or May.

Macklin, 30, impressively knocked out former world champion Joachim Alcine inside the first round in Las Vegas in September while Chavez was comprehensively out-pointed by Martinez on the same night.

Ready to rumble: Matthew Macklin is confident he can strike a deal to fight Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr next Spring

Ready to rumble: Matthew Macklin is confident he can strike a deal to fight Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr next Spring

Martinez faces Martin Murray in Argentina on April 27 with a view to taking on Chavez again in September but Macklin, who himself was stopped by Martinez in March, plans to crash the party.

Macklin has spoken briefly to Chavez's promoter Bob Arum and expects negotiations to be completed in the new year although an exact date and venue for the bout are yet to be agreed.

'I'd say the fight is 80 per cent likely,' he told Sportsmail.

'Even though I lost the Martinez fight, I took a lot of confidence from it. From a stylistic point of view, Martinez is a nightmare but with Chavez, what you see is what you get.

'He's strong, he works the body well and puts a lot of pressure on but I certainly won't have to go looking for him. I don't think I'll find it too hard to get my own shots off. I carry a lot of power so I'd be very confident going into the fight.'

Macklin also revealed the build-up to his clash with Martinez was plagued by injury.

On the cards: Macklin believes boxing fans would love to watch him take on Chavez Jr

On the cards: Macklin believes boxing fans would love to watch him take on Chavez Jr

'Things looked great in the training camp but three weeks out, I bruised my rib in sparring so I didn't spar for the rest of the week,' he added.

'Then two weeks out, I did 12 rounds on the pads and ended up skinning my knuckle really badly on my left hand so for the last two weeks, all I did was shadow box and run.

'After round eight or nine I was ahead, in fact going into the 11th, I was three rounds up on one of the judge's card. I thought it was closer and that I needed the last two rounds to win the fight. I probably got a bit more reckless in the 11th and I got caught with some big shots.

'I felt fine to continue but [trainer] Buddy [McGirt] wouldn't let me out for the 12th and I could see his reasons. At the time I wanted to continue but there was no fallout or anything.

'Martinez hasn't had a more competitive fight since he won the belt from Kelly Pavlik. Aside from the last round, in which he was looking to survive, it was a domination of Chavez. I don't think at any stage in the fight did he dominate me.'

Re-match: Macklin wants another crack at Sergio Martinez after losing to the Argentine back in March

Re-match: Macklin wants another crack at Sergio Martinez after losing to the Argentine back in March

Macklin is confident that victory over Chavez would land him a second tilt at a world title, assuming Martinez comes through his test against Murray.

'I gave Martinez a better run than Chavez did, bar the last round [when Martinez was knocked down],' he said. 'If the last round hadn't happened, I don't think there would be any talk of a rematch but because it did, it's a very sellable fight.

'A big win against Chavez on HBO in the States would certainly set up a rematch with Sergio Martinez.'

Macklin, who admitted he was glad to see British rival Darren Barker return to action with a convincing victory over Kerry Hope last Saturday, believes the triumvirate of himself, Barker and Murray could yet clash.

'It would definitely be better when one of us has a world title,' he said. 'If I beat Chavez and then have another good win in the States, I'm not going to leave HBO and fighting for world titles in America to come back for a non-title fight.

'But a world title is not an absolute must, it comes down to timing. Everyone has their own career and it comes down to when it suits both guys that a fight will be made.'

Holland 0 Germany 0

Holland 0 Germany 0: Bore draw as clash of the titans fails to live up to expectations

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UPDATED:

00:04 GMT, 15 November 2012

It's supposed to be one of the biggest rivalries in world football.

But Holland versus Germany turned out to be a 90 minute snoozefest in Amsterdam last night as they played out an uninspiring goalless draw.

Maybe both sets of players had their weekend domestic fixtures on their minds – but if ever there was a clear illustration of why so many feel international friendliest are pointless exercises, this was it.

Bore draw: Per Mertesacker and Arjen Robben do battle

Bore draw: Per Mertesacker and Arjen Robben do battle

Germany tried to impose their smooth passing style on the hosts – who honoured former internationals Edgar Davids, Michael Reiziger, Patrick Kluivert and Ruud van Nistelrooy before kick off.

In particular, Borussia Dortmund wonderkid Mario Goetze, the man Arsene Wenger dreams of signing, was enjoying plenty of the ball in the opening 15 minutes.

Tough going: Rafael van der Vaart (left) tries to inspire Holland

Tough going: Rafael van der Vaart (left) tries to inspire Holland

However, despite the wealth of
attacking talent on show at the Amsterdam Arena, former Liverpool
forward Dirk Kuyt mustered up the first opportunity of any real note
with a tame sliding effort in the 20th minute.

Everton defender John Heitinga did well to keep the shackles on Goetze a minute later as the 20-year-old tried to conjure up a yard of space to unleash an effort on goal deep inside the Dutch box before blocking Lewis Holtby's low goalbound effort from Benedikt Howedes' excellent cut-back soon after.

Heads: Mats Hummels and Dirk Kuyt

Heads: Mats Hummels and Dirk Kuyt

Arjen Robben wasted a golden opportunity to give Holland a 30th minute lead when he was sent clear through by Ibrahim Afellay – but the former Chelsea winger failed to squeeze his shot in after rounding German keeper Manuel Neuer.

Howedes and Marxo Reus both had chances to put Joachim Low's side ahead before Heitinga was forced into a superb goalline clearance from Ilkay Gundogan's low shot with the final kick of the opening half.

The second half started with the same pedestrian pace as the first, with neither side eager to impose themselves.

And no amount of encouragement from supporters spark any sort of tempo or urgency to this drabbest of matches.

In fact the first worthy attempt on goal in the second half came in the 77th minute when Neuer produced a brilliant stop low to his left, denying Dutch substitute Daryl Janmaat's low effort from the edge of the box after Kuyt's lay-off.

Eljero Elia flashed an angled effort from 16 yards wide moments later as Holland finally showed signs of life.

But it was merely a flash of entertainment as the clash ended goalless.

Matthew Macklin beats Joachim Alcine

Unstoppable Macklin sends out message as he stops Alcine in first round

PUBLISHED:

07:58 GMT, 16 September 2012

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UPDATED:

08:48 GMT, 16 September 2012

Matthew Macklin restored his position as a middleweight title contender with a ruthless stoppage of Canadian Joachim Alcine in Las Vegas.

Macklin put Alcine down twice in the opening blows of their non-title clash on the Sergio Martinez-Julio Cesar Chavez undercard and the fight was over inside three minutes.

Job done: Matthew Macklin celebrates his win over Joachim Alcine

Job done: Matthew Macklin celebrates his win over Joachim Alcine

The Irish middleweight went in to the
fight on the back of world title defeats to Felix Sturm and Martinez
and he appeared hungry from the opening bell.

He rained in shots on Alcine, who had
only previously been beaten twice, and the Quebec-based fighter was on
the canvas twice inside the opening minute, the first from a clubbing
right he could never recover from.

Getting on top: Macklin came out firing from the first bell against Alcine

Getting on top: Macklin came out firing from the first bell against Alcine

Macklin continued to dominate as the
round wore on, landing more heavy shots that forced referee Jay Nady to
call a halt with 24 seconds remaining in the first round.

Down you go: Maklin sends Alcine to the canvas

Down you go: Maklin sends Alcine to the canvas

Matthew Macklin"s fighting fit and ready to claim middleweight title shot with victory over Joachim Alcine

Macklin's fighting fit and ready to claim middleweight title shot with victory over Alcine

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UPDATED:

18:42 GMT, 13 September 2012

One of Britain’s most under-rated boxers is heading for a date on a starry Saturday night here in the Nevada desert on a promise that he will be given another shot at one of boxing’s most cherished prizes if he turns on his ancestral Irish charm at full power.

Matthew Macklin, born in Birmingham of parents from the Emerald Isle, can expect to bid for the lineal world middleweight title if he defeats a former champion, Canada’s Joachim Alcine, in style.

Macklin was robbed by the home-town judges in Germany when he challenged Felix Sturm, another ex-holder of a middleweight belt, last year.

Robbed: Matthew Macklin (right) reacts after a controversial defeat to Felix Sturm

Robbed: Matthew Macklin (right) reacts after a controversial defeat to Felix Sturm

Now promoter Lou DiBella promises: ‘If he wins this one, and does so convincingly, Matthew will looking at another title bid. Perhaps against the winner of the biggest of all the fights here this weekend, Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr versus Sergio Martinez.’

To which Macklin responds: ‘Good enough for me. I won’t be satisfied until I have a world title belt wrapped around my waist.’

So many of boxing’s most dazzling lights are generating extra illumination along this neon strip that Macklin has been able to slip into town under the radar for the fight which will decide how soon, if ever, he gets that second tilt at his life-long ambition.

No fewer than six world title fights take place on two competing promotions less than two miles apart here – and on rival TV networks across America.

The most mouth-watering pits Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr, the son of the Mexican Legend who is now a WBC champion in his own right, against, Martinez, the matinee idol from Argentina who is nine years his elder.

Across town another precocious young Mexican, Saul Canelo Alvarez, defends his world super-welterweight title against California’s Josesito Lopez.

On the rise: Macklin could look forward to a title shot

On the rise: Macklin could look forward to a title shot

Both bills are packed with championship action but it is the one at the sold out Thomas and Mack Center – capacity 19,186 – which demands first Macklin’s presence, then his closest attention.

Macklin, who was beaten by Martinez earlier this year in New York, will be putting down his marker when he enters that ring.

DiBella says: ‘Beat Arcine and next it could be the winner of Sergio and Julio an hour or so later, or Daniel Geale who has just unified two of the middleweight belts by beating Sturm.

‘I will be looking to make that fight on the east coast – New York, Chicago or Boston – around St Patrick’s night next March so that the Irish come out to support Matthew.’

For Macklin, at 30, that is a huge incentive as he strives for that elusive world title before the years take the toll.

This likeable and articulate former British and world champion has a future as a TV analyst, but he is not ready for that just yet.

Macklin, having established a strong fan base in New York during a long stay there at the time of his fight with Martinez, has now set up a gym in Marbella ‘for myself and any other fighters who want the advantage of training in warm weather.’

Fan base: Macklin is popular in New York

Fan base: Macklin is popular in New York

He declares himself the fittest he has ever been in a highly respectable 28 wins, four defeats, 19 KOs career:

‘For once no injuries and a perfect training camp. Alcine is no slouch, either, with 33 including 19 KOs hallmarking his 36 fight record.

‘No fight which can lead you to a world title opportunity is easy,’ says Macklin. ‘But I’m ready.’

And despite his late stoppage by Martinez, he is still rooting for the Argentinian and therefore hopeful of a re-match with a 37-year-old who, remarkable specimen though he is, has to feel his age sometime.

Chavez-Martinez and Macklin-Arcine will be live from 2am Sunday in Britain on Primetime via Sky Channel 498 and Virgin on Demand, at 14.95

Alvarez-Lopes will be live from 2am Sunday on BoxNation via Sky Channel 437 and Virgin Channel 546.

England eye old foes Germany and Argentina to mark 150th anniversary

England eye old foes Germany and Argentina to mark 150th anniversary

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UPDATED:

23:07 GMT, 24 August 2012

England are set to play up to four
more 'high-profile' friendlies next year to mark the Football
Association's 150th anniversary.

The FA said on Friday afternoon they
were poised to announce a February 6 clash to launch a year of
celebration that will also include another glamour friendly on May 29
and the already-confirmed August 14 showdown with Scotland.

Brudge match: England are keen to renew their rivalry with Germany

Brudge match: England are keen to renew their rivalry with Germany

Should England not be involved in the play-offs for the 2014 World Cup the following November, they would then seek to arrange two more such games.

FA communications director Adrian Bevington refused to reveal the opponents that were being sought for the first two matches, which are likely to be at Wembley.

But he added: 'We will try to ensure that the friendlies available to our fans will be reflective of the history of the England national team and will be extremely attractive to everybody.'

That would appear to make Germany the dream opponents for the May fixture, with Joachim Low's men scheduled to play France on the February date.

Star attraction: Lionel Messi could be set for Wembley date

Star attraction: Lionel Messi could be set for Wembley date

That could be filled by a number of teams and supporters would doubtless be most excited about a match against Brazil or Argentina, although they are also likely to have the chance to travel to Brazil this summer for an away friendly against the World Cup hosts.

Bevington confirmed England planned to fly to the country the day after the May 29 match for two fixtures – the other possibly being against Uruguay – and those games could take place in Rio and Belo Horizonte.

England would seek to make use of the base camp they identify for their potential World Cup finals campaign during that trip.

Should they qualify, their build-up to the World Cup would see them play a Wembley friendly in March 2014 and another that May before one more en route to Brazil.

There had been suggestions that would be in Florida but that has been played down.

Roberto Mancini absence in Austria adds to Manchester City quit fears

Mancini's absence on arrival in Austria adds to Manchester City quit fears

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UPDATED:

08:44 GMT, 9 July 2012

Roberto Mancini was nowhere to be seen as Manchester City arrived in Austria on Sunday night, adding to fears the Italian may be set to quit the club for Russia.

City jetted in to the Alpine village of Seefeld for their high-altitude camp on Sunday night but boss Mancini skipped the welcoming ceremony.

The title-winning boss had travelled with the squad but was said to have escaped attention by using a back entrance to their hotel, according to the Mirror.

Uncertain future: Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini is wanted by Russia

Uncertain future: Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini is wanted by Russia

Mancini has been offered 35million to manage World Cup hosts Russia as contract talks with City drag into another week.

Sources in Russia claimed on Saturday night that Mancini had agreed to take over the national team in a six-year deal that would see him in charge when they host the World Cup in 2018.

However, City said on Saturday that they were confident their manager would re-sign for them after protracted discussions between lawyers on both sides for the past two months.

Mancini is just one of several high-profile candidates to replace Dick Advocaat as Russia boss.

VIDEO: Manchester City arrive in Austria for pre-season camp

A power struggle at the top of the Russian FA has left officials fighting to have their preferred target installed as the new boss.

Spartak Moscow's oil tycoon owner Leonid Fedun openly admits he wants Pep Guardiola to take over and has pledged to pay his wages, while others have pushed for Manchester City boss Mancini, Germany manager Joachim Low, Fabio Capello and Italy boss Cesare Prandelli.

City are beginning their preparations for the new Barclays Premier League season, in which they will defend the crown they won in dramatic fashion with one of the final kicks of last term, Sergio Aguero's winning strike against QPR.

Cheering locals in Seefeld greeted the squad and Mancini was set to be handed a specially-made lederhosen, but disappointed his hosts with his no-show.

City will play three matches during their visit to Austria.

Euro 2012: Joachim Low demands patience from German public

Low demands patience from the German public after 'lifeless' Euro 2012 exit

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UPDATED:

14:59 GMT, 29 June 2012

Germany coach Joachim Low is certain his side will eventually turn their promise into trophies.

Another inquest has begun after the 2-1 Euro 2012 defeat by Italy, with 1990 World Cup-winning coach Franz Beckenbauer describing the Nationalmannschaft's performance as “lifeless”.

It was the third time in four major tournaments that Germany had crashed out at the semi-final stage.

Inquest: Low answers questions from the German press on his side's flight back from Warsaw to Frankfurt

Inquest: Low answers questions from the German press on his side's flight back from Warsaw to Frankfurt

Inquest: Low answers questions from the German press on his side's flight back from Warsaw to Frankfurt

On the other occasion, Germany were beaten by Spain at the last European Championship.

It is a sorry tale of woe for a country used to collecting major prizes and means they have still not lifted a trophy since Euro 96.

However, Low is using Spain as the example of patience now being required.

'It's hard to win a title,' he said.

'Spain waited years. It's a learning process for us, playing at this top level with these strong teams. You can't be impatient.'

Homeward bound: Low's squad board their flight at Warsaw

Homeward bound: Low's squad board their flight at Warsaw

Homeward bound: Low's squad board their flight at Warsaw

Low is adamant his side have improved since their third-place finish in the 2010 World Cup and can look back with pride on their achievements at this championship, where they set a new record of 15 consecutive victories in competitive games.

'The team has really moved forward in the last two years,' he said.

'We have caught up with lots of nations who were beyond us and we're at the same level as the really top teams.

'We didn't make it (against Italy), but there'll be other chances in the future.'

Inquest: Striker Miroslav Klose (left) and captain Philipp Lahm head walk across the tarmac at Frankfurt

Inquest: Striker Miroslav Klose (left) and captain Philipp Lahm head walk across the tarmac at Frankfurt

Inquest: Striker Miroslav Klose (left) and captain Philipp Lahm head walk across the tarmac at Frankfurt

Low conceded Germany were the architects of their own downfall on Thursday night, with poor defending leading to both Italy goals.

'One moment where you don't pay attention can cost you the game,' he said.

'We had three players on (Antonio) Cassano for that first goal, but he suddenly turns around and crosses. We should have stopped it.

'The second goal came after a long pass from a set-piece of our own.

'We didn't do well defensively twice, didn't pay attention and made mistakes.'

Back down to earth: Bastian Schweinsteiger was outshone by Italy's Andrea Pirlo

Back down to earth: Bastian Schweinsteiger was outshone by Italy's Andrea Pirlo

Now Germany must lick their wounds and respond during a World Cup qualifying group including fellow Euro 2012 contenders Sweden and the Republic of Ireland, from which only one side will definitely book their place in the finals in Brazil.

'Brazil is a while away yet,' he said.

'We'll go into a qualification campaign, but we've got a few new young players in the squad who have gained experience here, like Marco Reus.

'I don't think we'll change things around. We still have a very young team.'

Euro 2012 Joachim Low sure Germany will end Italy hoodoo

Germany can beat anyone: Low confident of putting Italy hoodoo to bed

PUBLISHED:

21:53 GMT, 27 June 2012

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UPDATED:

22:33 GMT, 27 June 2012

It will offer little comfort to Roy Hodgson but the organisers here were so confident of England beating Italy that one of the two dug-outs had been reserved for them in anticipation of a semi-final against Germany.

In fact it was not until Wednesday that ‘England’ was removed from the dug-out roof at the National Stadium.

Alas, they are not here. The Italians are. But Joachim Low scored one victory for England against Italy when he suggested Roy Hodgson’s side were superior to the one his Germany team encountered at the last World Cup. A side, of course, that was managed by Fabio Capello.

Final preparations: Joachim Low readies Germany for Italy in training

Final preparations: Joachim Low readies Germany for Italy in training

Final preparations: Joachim Low readies Germany for Italy in training

Low was asked why Germany are always here at this stage of a competition — this is their fourth semi-final in as many tournaments — and why, by this stage, England have usually returned home.

‘I don’t know why,’ he said. ‘It’s hard to answer. The English were much better in this tournament than in 2010. When they played us then, they were a team who had a lot of problems.

‘Here they were a very well organised team. Roy Hodgson has brought order into the side and has done a great job.

‘England will develop under him in the next few years and, in the next tournament, they’ll play a better role than they did here and certainly than they did in 2010.’

The sky's the limit: Italy stand in Germany's way of a final place, with Low aware of the havoc Andrea Pirlo (below) can wreak, if given the luxury of time and space

The sky's the limit: Italy stand in Germany's way of a final place, with Low aware of the havoc Andrea Pirlo (below) can wreak, if given the luxury of time and space

Dangerman: Pirlo

Germany have certainly improved since 2010. They were far too good for England in Bloemfontein but now they appear to have the measure of any team in the world. On the evidence so far they are the team of Euro 2012.

But like England, there is a certain hoodoo that must be erased against Italy if they are to advance to the final in Kiev on Sunday.

Never in Germany’s history have they beaten Italy in a competitive match.

They lost the semi-final of the 2006 World Cup, conceding twice in the last two minutes of extra time, and before that they lost one of the great encounters: a 4-3 semi-final defeat after extra time in the 1970 World Cup.

Heartbreak: Two extra-time strikes from Alessandro Del Piero knocked Germany out of the World Cup on home soil six years ago

Heartbreak: Two extra-time strikes from Alessandro Del Piero knocked Germany out of the World Cup on home soil six years ago

‘In 2006 we didn’t have the maturity we have now,’ said Low. ‘Italy have also gone through a change. When we played them last year (in a friendly clash that ended 1-1) they weren’t just a team who defended and played on the counter. They had developed, made and took chances, and have improved in quality without losing their strength in defence.

‘But our team is perfectly capable of beating any team in the world. We are in a position where we can beat anyone, so we have to take confidence from that into the game.’

Italy midfielder Daniele de Rossi is confident he will not be kept out of the clash by a bad back. De Rossi suffers from long-standing back problems and was in some discomfort immediately after Sunday’s win over England.

Confident: Daniele De Rossi says he wants to play, despite a persistent back injury

Confident: Daniele De Rossi (right) says he wants to play, despite a persistent back injury

However, as a key man in the Azzurri ranks, coach Cesare Prandelli will want De Rossi available and the Roma man has no intention of missing out.

‘It is not a case of being a hero or a warrior,’ he said. ‘I would never give up the opportunity of playing for Italy against Germany, although I would feel the same if it was a match for Roma in the Coppa Italia.

‘OK, I have got a bad back. But I have a lot of faith in the medical people. There are a few fitness tests tomorrow but I am confident I will make it.’

Stats: Germany V Italy

Euro 2012: Bastian Schweinsteiger fit for semi-final

Boost for Germany as midfield maestro Schweinsteiger declares himself fit for semi-final

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UPDATED:

17:34 GMT, 27 June 2012

Germany midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger has confirmed he will be fit to face Italy in Thursday's Euro 2012 semi-final.

Schweinsteiger complained of a sore ankle after the last-eight win over Greece on Friday.

Knock: Schweinsteiger goes down holding his ankle after a challenge against Greece last week

Knock: Schweinsteiger goes down holding his ankle after a challenge against Greece last week

Euro 2012 email button

However, the Bayern Munich man has shrugged off the problem and will take his place in the German side aiming to record their first competitive win over Italy.

'I am 100 per cent fit and very much looking forward to the game,' he said.

'I have trained twice fully and I feel good.'

Coach Joachim Low is expected to bring back Arsenal new-boy Lukas Podolski, Thomas Muller and tournament top scorer Mario Gomez after surprisingly leaving all three players out of his starting line-up last time out.

Raring to go: Schweinsteiger sits alongside Germany coach Joachim Low in Wednesday's press conference

Raring to go: Schweinsteiger sits alongside Germany coach Joachim Low in Wednesday's press conference

Raring to go: Schweinsteiger sits alongside Germany coach Joachim Low in Wednesday's press conference

Low's decision to rest the trio raised an eyebrow.

But the Germany coach, whose side are on a world record run of 15 successive wins in competitive matches, is unrepentant.

'I don't make my decisions dependent on what could happen,' he said.

'I made my decision based on my own conviction.

'Before the Greece game I had the feeling in the last third of the game we had the right players who could play well against their defence.'