Germany midfielder Michael Ballack will miss the World Cup after tearing an ankle ligament or three in the FA Cup Final won this last weekend by Ballack’s Chelsea over Portsmouth. He sustained he injury after a tackle–termed “brutal” by Germany manager Joachim Low–from Pompey’s Kevin-Prince Boateng, who also happens to be on the provisional roster of Ghana, which also happens to be in Germany’s group.
For further intrigue, Boateng was born in Berlin and featured for several German national youth teams before committing to Ghana on the senior level. His half-brother, Jerome, decided to stick with Der Mannschaft (gayest team nickname ever? Gayest team nickname ever) and is on Germany’s provisional World Cup roster.
Ballack, at 33, is not the dominant player he was in his prime (he had an especially potent tournament in ’02), but was expected to start and lend experience in midfield. The Germans have undertaken something of a youth movement, bringing in a new generation of players and Ballack’s steadying force was seen as integral. Definitely a blow to their chances, but it is never wise to count out the Germans. As former England marksman Gary Lineker once said,
“Football is a simple game; 22 men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans win.”