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Fabregas winning battle for fitness

Playmaker Cesc Fabregas may have shaken off his hamstring injury in time to feature in Spain's Group C opener against Italy on June 10, coach Vicente del Bosque said yesterday.

"They did some tests yesterday and the doctors saw that he is in reasonably good shape," Del Bosque said, ahead of Spain's final warm-up match against China today. "He will rejoin the rest of his team-mates in training at some point and, possibly, be ready for the 10th."

Hodgson backs racism walk-off

Roy Hodgson has confirmed England would stand by any referee who decides to take teams off at Euro 2012 due to an outbreak of racial abuse, after fears were raised over the scale of the problem in Ukraine.

"My stance is very simple: it's a matter for referees and UEFA," said the England manager. "You're talking about something that is abhorrent to anybody, not just in football, but in every walk of life.

"If UEFA decide that this is what the referee will do (walk off), we will be the first people to side along with that. But we, as football people, shouldn't be taking the initiative. I want UEFA and referees to control the issue."

Prandelli looks for positives

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli believes their defeat to Russia will only make his team stronger ahead of the European Championship. Ireland's Group C rivals lost 3-0 in Zurich on Friday in their last test before Euro 2012.

"We have suffered a lot," Prandelli said. "We have made many mistakes and we hope that we have used them all tonight. Russia were better than us physically, from an intensity and temperament point of view. Perhaps losing in this manner can help us as we return to work in order to improve."

Gerrard: I'm quietly confident

England captain Steven Gerrard is "quietly confident" about his side's chances of success at Euro 2012 despite the lengthy injury list which has disrupted their build-up.

"Are expectations coming down all the time?" he asked. "Maybe with the supporters and people around looking at this squad with no Wilshere, Cleverley, Barry, Lampard.

"Of course, people wonder whether we're capable of coping without those players. But we can't control what people say and think. We've got to get on with it and give it our best shot.

"We're quietly confident but we don't want to raise expectations unnecessarily. We're all aware that we've under-delivered in previous tournaments."

Fears ease for Schweinsteiger

Germany's fears over Bastian Schweinsteiger's fitness have eased despite the 27-year-old missing Thursday's friendly win over Israel because of a calf problem.

But coach Joachim Low has raised hopes the Bayern Munich man could be fit for the start of the European Championship.

"Schweinsteiger is now pain free again for the first time," said Low. "He can perhaps train again with the team on Monday or Tuesday."

Sunday Indo Sport