Löw: Schweinsteiger will start against France in semifinal | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 07.07.2016
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Löw: Schweinsteiger will start against France in semifinal

Germany coach Joachim Löw says captain Bastian Schweinsteiger will replace the injured Sami Khedira for Thursday's Euro 2016 semifinal clash with France. But Löw is more guarded when it comes to the rest of the side.

Schweinsteiger replaced Khedira in Germany's quarterfinal against Italy after the Juventus man, who also missed the World Cup final in 2014, went down injured after 15 minutes.

Löw said his 31-year-old skipper, who scored in Germany's opening game, was ready to go.

"In a game like this, his experience is very valuable and, in any case, he will start," confirmed Löw on Wednesday. "He will be involved. The injury is as good as cured and he is very, very important for our team."

France impressed in their 5-2 quarterfinal win over Iceland in their quarterfinal and Löw expects a tough challenge from a side they faced on their way to World Cup victory.

"We are going to have to be compact and close down the space in defence," he said. "France are going to be the toughest opponents we have had in the tournament until now. The game will be similar to 2014 (when Germany won 1-0 in the World Cup quarter-finals) and France have improved since then."

While he was happy to confirm Schweinsteiger's participation, Löw was less keen to reveal the replacements for Mats Hummels and Mario Gomez, suspended and injured respectively.

"I have the line-up in my head and have answered a few questions I had in the last few days," he said cryptically.

France have no such concerns, coach Dider Deschamps has a full squad to pick from after the return of center back Adil Rami and midfielder N'Golo Kante from suspension.

His side were comfortable against Iceland while Germany labored to a win on penalties over Italy but Schweinsteiger's midfield partner Toni Kroos doesn't think the last eight games will make a difference on a Thursday evening that is expected to be warm in Marseille.

"If you compare the two quarter-finals, we had a more intensive game than France," said the Real Madrid playmaker. "But their game was a day later and in the unlikely case that things go badly wrong for us, I wouldn't use the Italy game as an explanation."

UEFA Euro 2016 Deutschland - Italien Khedira Sami

Sami Khedira was forced off early in the quarterfinal

Deschamps said that while Germany were a good all-round side, he wants his team to take the initiative:

"Everyone talks about their attack, but they know how to defend, he said. "Against Italy, as soon as they lost possession, they harrassed them to get possession back.

"Germany take command of their games and they dominate possession but we can't go into this match thinking we're going to defend then hit on the counter-attack. With all the respect we have for Germany, we have a great chance and we're going to take it with both hands."

The winner of the tie will meet Portugal in the final in Paris on Sunday after they beat Wales 2-0 on Wednesday night.

mp (AFP)

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