By FRANCO PANIZO
If Germany is to defeat Italy in the Euro 2012 semifinals and advance the the tournament finale, they might have to do it without one of their key midfielders.
Bastian Schweinsteiger is questionable for Germany's semifinal bout on Thursday against Andrea Pirlo and the rest of the Azzurri with an ankle injury. Schweinsteiger revealed in a recent interview that his ankle still has not fully healed after tearing a ligament in it in February and that it has caused his discomfort during Euro 2012.
Schweinsteiger has been taking breaks from training throughout the tournament in an effort to rest the injured ankle, but he endured a subpar showing in Germany's 4-2 quarterfinals victory over Greece.
Here are more stories from around the soccer world:
RIVER PLATE BACK IN ARGENTINA'S TOP TIER
A year after suffering an unprecedented relegation to the second division, historic Argentine club River Plate is back in the country's top tier. River Plate gained promotion back to the first division with a 2-0 victory over Almirante Brown over the weekend. Former French international David Trezeguet scored both goals in the second half for River Plate.
BARTON LOSES QPR CAPTAINCY
Joey Barton's antics in Queens Park Rangers' season finale are proving quiet costly. Barton has been stripped of his QPR captaincy and fined six weeks' pay after the club committed an investigation into the violent conduct he committed against Manchester City in the last game of the campaign on May 13. This punishment comes after the FA handed Barton a 12-match ban and fined him $116,700 for his elbow on Carlos Tevez, kick on Sergio Aguero and his attempted headbutt on Vincent Kompany.
RUDDY SIGNS NEW NORWICH CITY DEAL
Norwich City has signed goalkeeper goalkeeper John Ruddy to a new four-year deal that will keep him with the club until 2016. The 25-year-old Ruddy joined Norwich in 2010 from Everton and had a solid season in between the pipes for the Canaries, who were keen to extend his stay. The new deal is the latest positive bit of news for Ruddy, who earlier this summer received a call-up to England's national team for Euro 2012 before having to withdraw from the squad with an injury.
What do you think of Germany's chances if Schweinsteiger cannot play against Italy? Expecting River Plate to make a run for the title this upcoming season? Think Barton's latest punishments are too severe?
Share your thoughts below.