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Germany keeper Schult battling to be fit for World Cup

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Germany keeper Schult battling to be fit for World Cup
Soccer Football - FIFA Women's World Cup - Frankfurt, Germany, May 14, 2019. Germany's coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg names her squad for the upcoming World Cup in France. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach   -   Copyright  KAI PFAFFENBACH(Reuters)
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BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s Almuth Schult was named on Tuesday in their Women’s World Cup squad, but coach Martin Voss-Tecklenburg said the experienced goalkeeper’s participation depended on recovering from a nagging shoulder injury.

Schult, who has won 58 caps and Olympic gold in 2016, played in the last two friendly internationals under new coach Voss-Tecklenburg and celebrated the domestic league and Cup double with VfL Wolfsburg last week.

But her shoulder injury could prevent the 28-year-old from being battle-ready for the World Cup next month.

“She has a shoulder injury. We are aware of that,” Voss-Tecklenburg told a news conference. “It will be decided at (the training camp in Bavaria’s) Grassau whether she will play in the World Cup or not.”

“Almuth must be capable of playing in the World Cup. The injury must not affect her and she must be able to perform 100 percent. She has had problems for some time.”

Germany are still second in the FIFA rankings behind world champions the United States and ahead of England and France, who will host the World Cup from June 7-July 7.

The two-time world champions, who have been drawn in Group B with Spain, China and South Africa, have a pre-tournament camp in Bavaria and play their final warm-up game against Chile on May 30.

“We obviously want to win the group. That is our first aim. Then we reach the knockout stage and as we want to qualify for next year’s Olympics we need to reach minimum the quarter-finals or the semi-finals (depending on the number of European teams.) This is our minimum demand,” Voss-Tecklenburg said.

The coach, who took over in November, named 23 players to the squad, while an additional five will train with them, acting as backups in case of last-minute injuries.

She kept a backbone of experienced players including Olympic champions Dzsenifer Marozsan, Melanie Leupolz, Alexandra Popp, and Lena Goessling among other while bringing in several younger players.

“We have a good mix of experience and youth. Germany are always among the favourites. We are number two in the world. We know we have these expectations. I am certain if we show our potential on the pitch that we will go far,” she said.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

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