Germans get flu' jab

Joachim Loew. Picture: Darren Staples/REUTERS

Harry Bailey

GERMANY manager Joachim Loew has announced that Seven of his players are suffering from flu' symptoms ahead of this evening's quarter-final match against France in Rio de Janeiro.

Loew confirmed the news in a German radio interview, but he did not identify the players.

"Seven players have somehow come down with slight cases of the flu," Loew said.

He said that most had "throat aches", but he did not reveal their names.

"As a result, it's too early to make any final decisions about the line-up," Loew added.

Defender Mats Hummels missed Germany's round of 16 match against Algeria on Monday due to a fever.

He said yesterday he had recovered and posted a picture of himself sitting on the beach.

Reserve midfielder Christoph Kramer was suffering from a case of the chills and was the only player who did not take part in the training session, said assistant coach Andreas Koepke.

Loew has said that the travel across Brazil and different climate zones for their four matches so far, as well as matches in tropical heat, a heavy downpour and then in chilly Porto Alegre, along with air conditioning, had taken their toll.

"I hope they're all doing well now," Loew said. "It's not all that bad at the moment. I don't want to dramatise it."

Nevertheless, Thomas Muller believes criticism of Germany's performance against Algeria is exaggerated, saying the main thing is they made it through to set up the clash with France this evening.

He criticised the negative atmosphere back home after the win over Algeria in which not everything ran so smoothly. "The way things have been interpreted and transmitted is wrong," he told reporters in Brazil.

"We have won what was a tight game. Even if we had to go through extra-time to get it, we deserved to go through."

Muller added: "I don't want to win the World Cup and have to say afterwards 'sorry that we only won by one goal'. Criticism is good, but without losing perspective."

Muller nevertheless knows improvements will have to be forthcoming against France if they are to avoid even heftier criticism over the weekend. "Ideally, we will impose our game, like we have done so often before," Muller said.

"My hope is that we come up against a side who attack us deeper, but that we can release ourselves from the slight pressure the French might put us under and then we will find more room up front than we did against the USA and Algeria."

Meanwhile, when Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer embarked on a series of hair-raising dashes out of his area in the second-round win over Algeria, it would have struck a chord with French football fans of a certain vintage.

Thoughts no doubt returned to one of the most shocking incidents in World Cup history, which occurred in the 1982 semi-final between West Germany and France when Harald Schumacher's airborne challenge on Patrick Battiston (left), which knocked the France defender unconscious but went unpunished, still raises anger and emotion in France, predictably making it a talking point ahead of the game, World Cup quarterfinal match. France coach Didier Deschamps says "we will write a new page of history - we'll try to make it as pleasant as possible."