Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Ballack Out Of World Cup


Michael Ballack has probably played in his last major tournament for Germany. Chelsea's German midfielder limped out of the FA Cup final with an ankle injury sustained in a tackle with Kevin-Prince Boateng.

The ankle injury rules their Captain and inspiration out for eight weeks and means Germany manager, Joachim Low, will have to rethink his team with less than a month to the start of the tournament.

Germany are in tough looking group with Australia, Ghana & Serbia, and Ballack is still an integral component of the team, nearing 100 caps and having played in every major tournament since 2000. He will be greatly missed and will be a difficult hole to fill.

So who will step into Ballack's shoes? Low has called on the squad to pull together and for the younger players to use the opportunity to grow into major roles. Germany are traditionally a side who go for experience but Low's provisional 27-man squad has a real youthful look to it, with six players aged 20 or 21.

Bastian Schweinsteiger has had a fine season for Bayern Munich who have captured the Bundesliga title and could win the Champions League. He's a cert for the centre of the park. Alongside
Schweinsteiger will be Hamburg's Piotr Trochowski. Depending on Low's chosen shape this leaves at least one, maybe two, midfield spots.



Lazio midfielder, Thomas Hitlsperger, played in nearly all the qualifying games but is also missing from the squad after being snubbed. His January move from Stuttgart to Italy was Low's reason for leaving him out. Other absences from the squad include Simon Rolfes & Aaron Hunt to there will be a posse of youngsters vying for the final midfield berth.


Mesut Özil (8 caps), Marko Marin (7), Sami Khedira (3), Toni Kroos (2) and Christian Träsch (2) are all 23 or younger and Low will be keeping a careful eye on them all as he ponders the best replacement for his talismanic skipper.

BruiseLee

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