It only happens every four years. Fans go crazy worldwide for the excitement it brings. There are celebrations, tears, chants, and cheers. If you haven’t figured out what I am talking about, you probably should listen up. The 2010 World Cup is amongst us. The best of the best have joined their home teams and are ready to compete at a level of play that is close to indescribable. Soccer players (and their fans) are pretty unique. Yes we have our crazed football and basketball fans, but this competition proves to be one of a kind. And although it took a slow start in the U.S., soccer is finally catching its much deserved hype and respect. Finally! We seem to be the last country to jump on the bandwagon, but we’re finally on it.
With that being said, hope you aren’t a Germany fan (or you have been saying a lot of prayers to the soccer God lately). In their Saturday FA Cup final, Germany took a loss that is sure to test their players’ skills in the upcoming summer games. Germany’s three-time player of the year, Michael Ballack, took a hit to his ankle by Portsmouth midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng that has cut his season short and possibly robs him of his final chance at a win in the World Cup. The 33-year-old Chelsea midfielder isn’t quite ready to throw in the towel yet. He will have the summer to think about whether he would like to return to the national team for the 2012 European Championship. Right now his main concentration is on getting healthy for the next club season.
The German captain suffered ligament damage in his right ankle at Wembley Stadium in the first half of the game and is now being spotted with a cast to start the healing process before he‘s able to train, which will not be for at least eight weeks. Good news is (yes, there is good news) he is expected to have a full recovery. Yet that still doesn’t make German fans very happy. Many are calling this an intentional foul, noting that the two “scuffled” shortly before the unfortunate tackle. Boateng has since heard heavy criticism from German officials, but is releasing statements that it was simply an accident. He apologized twice on the field during Portsmouth’s 0-1 loss and now, publicly, after.
Ballack joined his teammates at their training camp in Sicily and is anxious to provide support and leadership in their future games. He might only being able to give his support, but many fans are hoping that is enough to win the 2010 World Cup. With less than a month before the tournament, Germany coach Joachim Loew needs to choose a new captain and a player to fill Ballack’s midfield defense role. Germany opens this summer’s World Cup play against Australia.
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