Bastian Bothered by Ankle Problems

GDANSK, POLAND - JUNE 22: Bastian Schweinsteiger of Germany reacts during the UEFA EURO 2012 quarter final match between Germany and Greece at The Municipal Stadium on June 22, 2012 in Gdansk, Poland. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

In a not-terribly surprising story, Bastian Schweinsteiger has revealed that his ankle-ligament injury from this past winter hasn't properly healed. ESPN's SoccerNet implies he might miss the upcoming semi-final, though Bastian's quote only says "hopefully we will have two more games, and I have to struggle through."

It's been clear for the last 2 months that Schweinsteiger isn't at 100 percent. While he has still played generally well, he hasn't looked as sharp and aggressive as he was in 2009 and 2010. The fact that he missed a lot of the fall with the collar-bone, only to come back for 2 months and then get hurt again, surely hasn't helped matters. But the somewhat surprising thing is that he actually looked solid for parts of this tournament - he had two assists in the Netherlands match, and he seemed to be moving pretty well and seeing the field.

At the end of the Greece game, though, it did look like he was moving a little tentatively. Our back-up plan (Kroos + Khedira in the two CDM spots) is actually a good one. Those two complement each other well and wouldn't leave too many holes for opponents to exploit. But it's clearly a step down from a fully-fit Schweinsteiger. I guess the big question is whether a 100 percent fit Kroos is better than a (?) 70 percent Bastian. My opinion is that, given Khedira's strength and stopping power, Kroos at 100 percent would be able to do most of the Bastian-work, and that would probably be better than asking someone to hobble around. Not to mention the fact that, every time Bastian takes the field with an ankle problem, he risks making it worse and requiring surgery.

We'll monitor the story and keep everyone up to date. Hopefully a few days' rest will let Bastian feel ready to go. If he's not, though, I hope Jogi has faith in his bench and lets Kroos take the reins for a bit.

You can also consider this your viewing thread for England - Italy, for those who are watching. Thanks for reading.

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