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Germany's Loew hopeful Boateng will be fit for last 16

Germany coach Joachim Loew during training. REUTERS/John Sibley
Germany coach Joachim Loew during training. REUTERS/John Sibley

PARIS (Reuters) - Germany coach Joachim Loew is confident key centre back Jerome Boateng will be fit for his side's last-16 encounter despite coming off with a calf problem during Tuesday's 1-0 victory over Northern Ireland.

Boateng has been instrumental at the back for the Germans, who have yet to concede a goal at the tournament.

He came off after 76 minutes and walked gingerly to the bench.

"I don't know exactly about Boateng. I hope the medical staff will succeed and I assume he will play in the next game," Loew said.

He said Boateng had felt his calf at halftime and that he had decided to take him off as a precautionary measure.

"The risk is too high and if something happens in the calf it means two or three weeks out for him so I didn't want to take that risk especially as Northern Ireland were not too dangerous in their attacks."

Germany finished top of Group C and will now face a third-placed team in the next round.

(Reporting By John Irish; Editing by Toby Davis)

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