Germany assistant coach Hans-Dieter Flick is "optimistic" Bastian Schweinsteiger, Jerome Boateng and Mesut Oezil will each be fit to face England this weekend. All three picked up knocks during Wednesday night's 1-0 win over Ghana and it remains to be seen if they will be fit enough to start the last-16 encounter with England.
Flick is hopeful about the recovery of all three though, saying today: "Jerome has a bit of a calf strain and Schweini [Schweinsteiger] has a hamstring problem and 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. "Oezil seems to have twisted his ankle but he is not in pain and I think we will get him fit for Sunday's game."
Flick was asked if Bayer Leverkusen youngster Toni Kroos was the likely replacement for Schweinsteiger if the influential Bayern Munich playmaker was ruled out. Flick said: "He certainly is an alternative, but as far as Bastian Schweinsteiger is concerned, I think we can have reasons to be optimistic. I've spoken to the team doctor and he says the recovery time is comparatively short. We just hope he's in the starting line-up and fit to play because he's become a key player."
Looking ahead to the clash with old rivals England, Flick believes Fabio Capello's "star-studded" side are still one of the leading candidates to win the FIFA World Cup despite an uninspiring start to the competition.
"I think at the moment they haven't really shown what they are capable of. I'm also convinced that England remain one of the favourites for the world champions title," he said. "Any team with such a star-studded squad, with so much experience under their belts, are a team to be reckoned with. So they are certainly still one of the favourites and also for this game they will be the favourites.
"For me, England are a team who, under Fabio Capello, have tactically gained a lot and obviously, with their individual strength in attack, they can beat any team and so we are looking forward to this duel. This will be a highlight for all players in their career and we are all looking forward to Sunday."
Flick added: "England certainly did not show their true strength in the first games and I am convinced that they are experienced enough to move up a gear. They had a lot of pressure to get into the knockout stage so it will be a different team completely in this game and they will show these strengths.
"We are two big footballing nations and at the end of the day, it's an absolute classic. Two teams who, this time again, have big quality and there is mutual respect. It is important that we show over 90 minutes and that, in the end, Germany win."