Joris Mathijsen’s hamstring problem continues to show no sign of recovering for Holland. Shay Given is on course to start against Croatia despite a knee problem, Cesare Prandelli has been playing Daniel De Rossi in a three-man defence in Italy’s training sessions, Milan Baros may miss the Czech Republic’s opener, while Slaven Bilic is reported to be rethinking his backline ahead of the Ireland showdown:
Dutch boss Bert Van Marwijk received some bad news on the injury front yesterday. Word from the Holland training camp is that Joris Mathijsen is now “80%” certain to miss the opener with Denmark after failing to sufficiently recover from a hamstring problem. The centre-half limped out of the friendly against Bulgaria on May 26 and has failed to feature since, with Wilfred Bouma and Ron Vlaar taking turns to deputise in his absence – Van Marwijk will now reassess the situation and is even considering replacing Mathijsen in the 23 man squad if his condition doesn’t improve in the next day or so:
We had hoped he would train with the group today, but that did not happen, unfortunately. He needs more time. I will look at the situation the next two days and then decide whether I keep him in the squad or not. I have to await the correct information. With a muscle injury it is always hard to predict. If the chances are reasonable that he will make the second game, then I want to take the risk. I still think Joris can be important for us at this tournament, but not if it is unlikely that he will make that second game.
Bastian Schweinsteiger has revealed he is now fully fit and ready for Germany’s match with Portugal. The Bayern midfielder has failed to take part in his nation’s couple of friendly matches due to a calf problem but has told the press he is now “fine”, handing Joachim Low a huge boost ahead of Saturday evening’s opener. Philipp Lahm and Sami Khedira both sat out training for the Germans yesterday. The national association confirmed Lahm was following a recovery program, while Khedira has a calf problem – the pair are said to have missed out as no more than a precautionary measure, however.
Republic of Ireland goalkeeping coach Alan Kelly dismissed the idea that Shay Given could miss out against Croatia on Sunday. The Villa man was subbed off at half-time in the midweek friendly against Hungary and sat out training the following day but Kelly insisted this was all part of his fitness program as he recovers from a knee and calf problems. The news will be hugely reassuring to Given’s Fantasy owners – priced at 4.5 in the McDonald’s game, he’s been a popular pick on the site and Kelly’s words suggest there is little to worry about:
There is absolutely no doubt about Shay playing…He will be fit to play on Sunday. Wild horses would not keep him from that pitch. He made four or five saves in Hungary, and one reaction save was world class. You don’t make those if you are not fully prepared.
Andrea Pirlo took no part in training for Italy yesterday. The Juventus man is thought to have a tight muscle and was rested as a precautionary measure ahead of the Azzurri’s opener with Spain on Sunday – understandable, when you consider the injury situation currently surrounding Cesare Prandelli’s side. David Astori has flown in as a possible replacement for Andrea Barzagli – the latter is likely to be ruled out of the group stages due to a calf problem, though Prandelli has until Friday to decide whether to drop him from the squad altogether. The Italy boss is reported to have been trialling a three-man defence in training and, in Barzagli’s absence, has been playing midfielder Daniel De Rossi in the backline.
Igor Akinfeev is reported to have recovered from a knee problem and took part in full training for Russia yesterday. The keeper was thought to be a doubt for Friday’s match with the Czech Republic but is now set to vie with Vyacheslav Malafeev for a starting role between the posts. Aleksandr Anyukov and Roman Pavlyuchenko also came through training without any problems; while Anyukov can expect to slot in at right-back, Pavlyuchenko looks set for a bench role, with Aleksandr Kerzhakov ready to lead the line.
Milan Baros missed out on training for the Czech Republic yesterday. The forward has a thigh injury and was sent to hospital for a scan and according to the national team doctor, is currently a doubt for the game with Russia:
The scan did not reveal any rupture; Milan Baroš will stay with the team. The muscle is only slightly strained. He will join the team in training tomorrow. After that, we will decide whether he can be passed fit for the opening game. If Milan does the full training session with the team, he will be ready to play; if he trains on his own, he will not.
Reports in the Croatian press suggest Slaven Bilic is weighing up his defensive options ahead of the opener with Republic of Ireland. Bilic is said to be considering the full-back positions in particular, with Darijo Srna mooted as possibly dropping back from midfield into right-back and Danijel Pranjic now vying with Ivan Strinic for the left-back role. Srna is classified as a midfielder in the McDonald’s game and, while he will still have spot-kicks and set-pieces to fall back on, his price of 7.5 looks a little less enticing if Bilic shifts him into defence. Strinic’s price of 4.0 has seen him drafted in by 21.6% of Fantasy managers but this news puts question marks against his starting role – Pranjic, on the other hand, costs 6.0 and is a far less appealing prospect, given he could also square up to Spain and Italy if Bilic decides to include him.