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Germany captain Michael Ballack has been ruled out of the FIFA World Cup after a scan revealed the midfielder damaged ligaments in his right ankle during Chelsea FC's FA Cup final triumph against Portsmouth FC on Saturday.
Ballack, who has scored 42 goals in 98 appearances for his country, hobbled from Wembley pitch 44 minutes into the 1-0 victory following a challenge by Kevin-Prince Boateng.
"Of course it's a huge disappointment," Ballack said. "
It hurts to get a diagnosis like that two or three weeks before the World Cup. But that's football, we have to move on."
Germany coach Joachim Löw added: "I was shocked at first, but now others have to take more responsibility. It is a big loss, Michael is a world class player and our captain."
Ballack's ankle will be placed in a cast, after which he will then need to wear a special shoe for another two weeks. Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt, the German team doctor, expects the 33-year-old's recovery to take at least eight weeks. Germany kick off their Group A campaign against Australia in Durban on 13 June with games against Serbia and Ghana to follow.
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