Injured Ballack ruled out of World Cup

Germany captain Michael Ballack has been forced to pull out of the World Cup finals in South Africa, the German football federation (DFB) said Monday.

Injured Ballack ruled out of World Cup
Photo: DPA

The 33-year-old Chelsea midfielder limped out of Saturday’s FA Cup final win over Portsmouth after an unnecessarily heavy tackle from Kevin-Prince Boateng.

An examination in Munich discovered Ballack had torn his ligaments in his ankle. The German national team doctor said he will likely recover and be able to play football again, but not in time for the World Cup.

The DFB said in a statement that Ballack’s right ankle will have to be immobilised and put in a plaster cast. He will then have to wear a special shoe for a further two weeks.

With 98 caps and 42 goals to his name, Ballack was a crucial part of Germany’s bid to win the tournament for a fourth time.

“I’m angry, of course. The disappointment is naturally huge,” Ballack said. “To get such a diagnosis two or three weeks before the World Cup is bitter. But that’s football, things have to continue on.”

The injury means Germany will face Australia in their opening World Cup game on June 13 without their most important player.

“We were shocked, no question,” said German national team coach Joachim Löw. “We now have to marshal our strength. There can be no talk of resignation. We are convinced we can have a good World Cup.”

Ballack’s departure from the side is another setback for Löw after goalkeeper Rene Adler was also ruled out last month due to injury.

To replace Ballack in the midfield, Löw could turn to Bastian Schweinsteiger, who has had a very good season with Bayern Munich. He could act as playmaker beside Bremen’s Mesut Özil.

Löw could also recall Thomas Hitzlsperger (Lazio), or even Torsten Frings (Werder Bremen), two veterans who had fallen out of favour.

The injury is a bitter blow for Ballack who is still looking for a first international success at his final World Cup after 2002 (2nd) and 2006 (3rd). He started his career at Chemnitz before moving to Kaiserslautern (1997-99), Bayer Leverkusen (1999-2002), Bayern Munich (2002-06) and Chelsea.

Making things even harder on German football fans, Boateng will likely take to the pitch with Ghana against Germany on June 23 in the first round of the World Cup.

Though Berlin-born Boateng opted to play for the African homeland of his father, his half-brother Jerome is a German national player. Boateng is also related on his mother’s side to the legendary German player Helmut Rahn, who helped Germany win the World Cup in 1954.

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British football teams allowed to skip Germany’s quarantine for Euro 2020

Germany's government announced on Tuesday it will allow England, Scotland and Wales to enter the country without quarantine to play at Euro 2020 despite a recent rise in cases linked to the Delta variant of Covid-19 in Britain.

British football teams allowed to skip Germany's quarantine for Euro 2020
One of the venues for Euro 2020 is in Munich. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sven Hoppe

The three teams could potentially reach the quarter-final held in Munich on July 2nd.

If that were the case, they would be exempt from the rule that travellers from the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland must currently observe a 14-day isolation period due to the virus strain of concern – Delta – first identified in India.

“The people accredited for the European football Championship are exempt from the quarantine obligation, even after arriving from an area impacted by a variant” Berlin said in a statement.

“This exemption concerns all the people who have been accredited by the organising committee for the preparation, participation, the holding and the follow-up of international sporting events,” it added.

The exemption does not include fans, who will be obliged to follow German government self-isolation rules.

Germany declared the UK a ‘virus variant area of concern’ on May 23rd due to rising cases linked to the Delta variant in parts of the country. 

READ ALSO: Germany makes UK ‘virus variant area of concern’: How does it affect you?

This reclassification came just seven days after the UK was put back on Germany’s list at the lowest risk level, and barely a month after it was taken off all risk lists completely.

The ban was put in place despite the UK’s relatively low Covid rates as a precautionary measure.

A general ban on entry is in place for people coming from countries on the ‘virus variant’ list – such as India and Brazil – the highest of Germany’s risk categories. 

There are some exceptions for entering from these countries – for example German residents and citizens. However, anyone who does enter from Germany is required to submit a Covid-19 test before boarding the flight and must quarantine for 14 days on arrival, regardless of whether they are fully vaccinated or not.

READ ALSO: Germany’s new relaxed quarantine and testing rules after travel

Euro 2020 starts on Friday as Italy host Turkey in Rome with the Bavarian city hosting three group games as well as the last-eight match.

Around 14,000 fans will be allowed into the Allianz Arena for the fixtures.