German captain Michael Ballack will miss the World Cup because of torn ligaments in his right ankle, a serious blow to the three-time champions less than a month before the tournament.
The 33-year-old Chelsea midfielder was hurt during his club's 1-0 FA Cup final victory over Portsmouth on Saturday. Ballack's ankle is in a cast, and the German soccer federation said yesterday he won't be able to train for at least 8 weeks. A full recovery is expected.
The injury probably robs Ballack, Germany's three-time player of the year, of his final chance to win the World Cup.