Loew offers Huth hope

The German international has been told he can still make Euros.

Robert Hut, left, celebrates a goal during his injury
hit season with Middlesbrough [AFP]

Germany coach Joachim Loew has told defender Robert Huth he can still make his country’s Euro 2008 squad despite another injury setback.

The Middlesbrough player was last week handed his first international call-up in almost two years but has been forced to pull out of Wednesday’s friendly against Switzerland in Basel after damaging his left foot in training.

“Our doctors looked at him and decided he couldn’t play,” Loew said.

“It’s not a long-term injury though. He looks like he will be out for around ten to 15 days.”

Loew has said that Wednesday’s match will be Germany’s last before he unveils his final Euro 2008 squad on May 16.

“Huth’s chances are still intact though. We have analysed his recent games in England and seen some very good defensive performances, even against strong opponents like Arsenal.

“I have explained to him that door is not closed and we will see how he gets on over the next few weeks.”

Capped 17 times as a Chelsea player before joining Boro in 2006, Huth has struggled with injury and form since his last international at the 2006 World Cup.

Loew has not called up any replacement for Huth and said he would instead rely on either Arne Friedrich or Heiko Westermann to partner Per Mertesacker in central defence.

“Westermann is a trained central defender even if he is playing wide for Schalke at the moment. I don’t have any concerns about the defence,” Loew said.

Happy anniversary

Wednesday’s match is already guaranteed to be a memorable occasion for the Germans as they mark the anniversary of their first ever international match, also played in Basel against Switzerland almost exactly a century ago in April 1908.

This week’s reprise will also be Germany’s 800th international game and their 50th against Switzerland.

Loew warned though that their hosts were more than capable of spoiling Germany’s party, even insisting that the Swiss should be considered among the Euro 2008 favourites when they co-host the tournament along with Austria in June.

“Switzerland have made huge progress in the last ten to 15 years and I was already impressed by the professionalism of their association in the 1990s,” said Loew who began his coaching career with Swiss side Frauenfeld.

“When you look at the clubs their players are playing for, you can see that we’ll be up against an international squad of Swiss citizens. They’ll be playing all their group games here in Basel, and possibly even the quarter-finals and semi-finals.

“They’ll have the chance to build up a great atmosphere here and I’m convinced they should be among the favourites, because somebody is going to have to come here and beat them on their own ground.”

Source : News Agencies

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