Germany captain Michael Ballack out of World Cup

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Germany captain Michael Ballack has been forced out of the World Cup with a serious ankle injury.

The Chelsea midfielder limped out of the 1-0 FA Cup final win over Portsmouth on Saturday after a heavy tackle by Kevin-Prince Boateng.

Ballack flew to Germany the day after the Cup final to be examined by national team and Bayern Munich doctor Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt.

And a scan revealed a partially torn ligament but it is expected to be eight weeks before he can resume training.

It is a bitter blow for the 33-year-old as the South Africa finals would likely have been his final World Cup campaign.

"It's very disappointing, but I have to accept it," Ballack told German television, standing with crutches. "It's football and you have to live with it... I am angry, clearly."

Ballack, who who has scored 42 goals in 98 internationals and starred for Germany in the 2002 and 2006 World Cups, was furious at Boateng's reckless tackle that caused the injury.

"I have seen it on TV and to say it was not on purpose means you have to be a friend of Boateng," Ballack said after the final at Wembley.

"Boateng was lucky to get away with a yellow, but it is football and if the referee controls the game and decides it is no red card you have to accept it."

Ballack's absence leaves Germany coach Joachim Löw without his most experienced player and leader in a squad with many young players.

"We are shocked, no question about it, and we are all very, very sad," Löw said at the team's training camp in Sicily.

"He is a very important player for us, a world class player who played a very important role in decisive games for us.

"There can be no question of resignation now. We are sure we can still play a good tournament."

Germany begin their World Cup campaign against Australia on 13 June before matches against Serbia on 18 June and Ghana on 23 June.

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