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Germans brace for rugged Colombians

Germany's players take part in a training session at Jubilee Stadium in Sydney on July 29, 2023, on the eve of their FIFA Women's World Cup football match against Colombia. (Photo by DAVID GRAY / AFP)

SYDNEY, Australia (AFP)–Germany must reshuffle its defense at the Women’s World Cup after another injury set-back when left-back Felicitas Rauch hurt her knee ahead of their game with tough-tackling Colombia on Sunday.

Rauch strained knee ligaments blocking a shot in training on Friday and it is unclear when she will return, said Germany head coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg.

It is the latest injury blow for Germany in defense. Center-back Marina Hegering missed the opening 6-0 thrashing of Morocco with an ankle knock.

“That wasn’t a good moment in training,” said Voss-Tecklenburg. “Felicitas cannot play, but we got a diagnosis quite quickly, which was relatively positive.

“I don’t know how long she will be out for.”

The Germany boss had already lost back-up left-back Carolin Simon with torn knee ligaments in a World Cup warm-up game.

“It’s the third defender we have lost, so we know what type of back-up options we have,” Voss-Tecklenburg added. “We will be able to compensate for this injury.”

Germany, the 2003 and 2007 champion, posted the biggest win of the World Cup contenders so far in the romp over Morocco.

Colombia also won its opening game, beating South Korea 2-0.

The Germans expect a tense battle in Sydney against the South Americans and the result is likely to decide who finishes top of Group H.

“They are able to score from every type of position. We know what we have ahead of us,” Voss-Tecklenburg added.

“We have two pretty strong teams and I’m convinced it will be quite a tight, quite intensive, but also an attractive game.”

The Colombians are known for their physical approach.

The Republic of Ireland abandoned a warm-up game behind closed doors against Colombia a fortnight ago after the match “became overly physical”, the Irish said.

Bayern Munich midfielder Lina Magull says the Germans won’t back down.

“They are strong in the one-on-one battles, that is the way they play,” said Magull.

“We are prepared for that. It’s not like we are afraid. It’s just something you have to be prepared for.”

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