Soccer: Germany captain Ballack to miss WCup with injury
By NESHA STARCEVIC
AP Sports Writer
FRANKFURT — Germany captain Michael Ballack will miss the World Cup because of a right ankle injury.
The German soccer federation said Monday that the 33-year-old Chelsea midfielder had torn ligaments in his right ankle from a tackle during his club's 1-0 FA Cup final victory over Portsmouth on Saturday. Ballack's ankle has been put in a cast and the federation said he won't be able to train for at least eight weeks.
Ballack flew to Germany late Sunday to be examined by national team and Bayern Munich doctor Hans-Wilhelm Mueller-Wohlfahrt on Monday. Ballack's ankle was still too swollen Sunday for a previously scheduled scan in London.
The federation said he should make a full recovery.
Ballack's absence leaves Germany coach Joachim Loew without his most experienced player and leader in a squad with many young players.
Ballack, who has made 98 appearances for Germany and scored 42 goals, was injured Saturday after a tackle by Kevin-Prince Boateng, previously a Bundesliga player who is the half brother of Germany defender Jerome Boateng. Kevin-Prince Boateng has chosen to play for Ghana, the country of his father and one of Germany's World Cup opponents.
Loew called the tackle "brutal," and Ballack told German television the foul might have been intentional. Ballack and Boateng were involved in a scuffle shortly before the foul.
Boateng was born in Berlin and played for several Germany youth selections, including the under-21 team. From Hertha Berlin, he moved to Tottenham, then went on loan to Borussia Dortmund before joining Portsmouth.
Germany's incomplete squad has been in Sicily since Friday. Seven players from Bayern Munich will join only after Saturday's Champions League final against Inter Milan.
Germany opens its World Cup campaign against Australia and then plays Serbia and Ghana in Group D.