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Lahm: My hunger

Schweinsteiger doubtful for last sixteen tie

The Germany squad visited a safari park on Friday, handling and playing with baby lions in one part of the facility, and observing the grown-up specimens from a respectful distance elsewhere. On Sunday, the Germans will again feel the need for caution when they come up against the Three Lions of England. “It’ll be more of a struggle than it was this morning,” quipped Germany skipper Philipp Lahm.

Fight over every inch of ground

Lahm watched Germany’s penalty shoot-out victories over the English at the 1990 World Cup and at Euro 1996 on TV. “It's a tremendous fixture with masses of history,” said the 26-year-old, who will lead out his team for the latest edition of the tie. “But meetings in the past aren’t that significant for the players who run out on Sunday.”

The full-back warned of hard labour ahead. “Every mistake could be decisive,” he said, “you have to fight for every inch of ground, every player has to make the right decisions in his position. We have to be courageous and play with conviction.” The FCB stalwart feels he and his men will need to pass more accurately in attack, and restrict England to fewer chances than Ghana created.

Schweinsteiger doubtful

The national captain felt his side’s less than smooth passage to the last sixteen, despite a superb opening against Australia, was a blessing in disguise. “It was important we didn’t cruise through the group.” The young team had recognised what it meant to play under pressure. “Ghana was basically a knockout match, so we’ve learned a lot about how to approach England.”