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Injury woes for Cup foes

Berlin: Germany midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger was named captain of the national team on Tuesday, succeeding Bayern Munich teammate Philipp Lahm, who retired from international football following their World Cup victory in Brazil in July.

The 30-year-old Schweinsteiger, who has won 108 caps and scored 23 goals for Germany, will not lead the team in Wednesday’s friendly rematch of the final against Argentina due to injury.

The Bayern Munich midfielder, who is the most experienced player in the squad since the departure of Lahm, will also miss Sunday’s Euro 2016 World Cup qualifier against Scotland. “Bastian is the absolute leader and he has always shouldered responsibility for the national team on and off the pitch.” coach Joachim Loew said.

“I know Bastian is always there when we need him. He will be a great and worthy captain of our team. He is a legitimate successor to Philipp.”

Loew also announced a late call-up, bringing in midfielder Sebastian Rudy with Jerome Boateng and Sami Khedira doubtful for the Argentina game and Mesut Ozil and Mats Hummels ruled out. Loew also said former VfB Stuttgart coach Thomas Schneider would be his new assistant, succeeding Hansi Flick, who becomes the federation’s sports director.

On the other hand, Argentina will also be without captain Lionel Messi in the World Cup final ‘re-match’, due to a groin strain, his club side Barcelona had confirmed on Monday. Messi suffered the injury in Barca’s 1-0 win away to Villarreal on Sunday and will also miss a charity match in Rome on Monday.

“Leo Messi will remain in Barcelona as a precaution due to a strain in his right adductor,” Barca said in a statement on their website.

In another match, England will take on Norway. The memory of the despair in the Sao Paulo dressing room after England’s World Cup defeat by Uruguay will not leave the team for a long time and mid-fielder Jordan Henderson admitted that he will “keep that pain” throughout his career as a motivation.

So will Raheem Sterling, who remembers the look of misery on the faces of his teammates, whose departure from the World Cup was soon confirmed when Costa Rica beat Italy.

England’s redemption journey begins in Wednesday’s Wembley friendly and, more importantly, against Switzerland in Basle next Monday as the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign opens.

With the retirements of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard, the 24-year-old Henderson is now one of England’s most senior midfielders. He spoke powerfully at the Grove, his mind dwelling on the aftermath of Sao Paulo. “The dressing room was very down, very flat,’’ recalled Henderson.