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Schweinsteiger: I'm 100 per cent fit for Italy clash

The Bayern Munich midfielder recovered from a calf problem just before the tournament began only to then pick up an ankle knock that has been hindering him in recent weeks

Greg Stobart
 In Warsaw
Bastian Schweinsteiger has declared himself 100 per cent fit for Thursday's Euro 2012 semi-final clash with Italy in Warsaw.

The Bayern Munich midfielder has featured in all four of his country's tournament outings to date, but admitted on Sunday that he has been struggling with an ankle problem that very nearly forced him out of the quarter-final win over Greece.

"I am 100 per cent fit and I’m very well," Schweinsteiger told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday. "It was not that good after the Greece game but I’ve trained twice now. I feel good and I’m looking forward to the game."

Italy playmaker Andrea Pirlo claimed on Tuesday that Die Mannschaft are afraid of the Azzurri, but Schweinsteiger insisted that there is no fear in the Germany camp.

"I don’t know what Pirlo said or what he meant," the 27-year-old began. "He’s an experienced player and knows what he should say.

"The respect is there. If you don’t have any respect, then you are dumb. Italy is a great nation with a great past.

"I think the point has come now where we can beat the next big opponent. There’s big respect, great respect for what they’ve done, but there is no fear."

Schweinsteiger went as far as to admit that if he could have one Italian player join him at the Allianz Arena, it would be Pirlo.

"There are several that would have the capability and skills to play at Bayern Munich," he mused. "But, personally, I like the way Pirlo plays.

"He is 33, you have to say that, but the way he’s played at this tournament has been quite amazing. There’s a way to stop him but he is a very good player."

Schweinsteiger pointed out, though, that Germany are not short on quality in the midfield department themselves and was keen to heap praise on Sami Khedira in particular.

"He is playing great," he enthused. "He’s learned a lot at [Real] Madrid and he’s become much stronger. Through that experience in the Champions League, you learn a lot.

"He’s important for me to play alongside, but also for every player. He’s strong going forward, he’s always available, he scores goals and he drops back.

"But we have to make sure we both know what the other one is doing against Italy."

Thursday's semi-final showdown in the Polish capital will get under way at 20:45CET.

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