Low, Germany Hold Collective Breath As Ballack Undergoes Injury Scans

Bryan SakakeenyCorrespondent IMay 16, 2010

German skipper Michael Ballack could still be fit enough to captain Germany in the World Cup despite injuring his right ankle in the FA Cup final against Portsmouth on Saturday. 

Ballack was substituted by Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti in the 44th minute after being on the receiving end of a hard tackle from Portsmouth's Kevin-Prince Boateng.

Ancelotti said afterwards, "We don't think it's a bad injury" and that "We hope he'll be ready for the World Cup."

Boateng is the older brother of German national team hopeful Jerome Boateng of HSV.  Oddly enough, Kevin-Prince declared his eligibility to play for Ghana in the upcoming World Cup. The Black Stars and Germany will square off in Group D play on June 23rd.

No word yet on any other motivations behind the tackle from Boateng, speculation seems limited given the magnitude of the match that was taking place.  However, Ballack was infuriated by the tackle, demanding that Boateng should have been sent off.

Preliminary X-rays have shown no breaks or fractures, much to the relief of German manager Joachim Low, who is anxiously awaiting the results of further scans that are scheduled to take place on Sunday.

"I have tried to get hold of him but have not been able to," Low said. "I have heard that nothing is broken, which is a relief, and that he will undergo a scan tomorrow (Sunday). I hope he gets good news from the hospital. Of course we need our captain. He has so much experience," said Low in light of the recent events.

Despite Low and Ancelotti's hopefulness, Ballack was more cautious of his future fitness levels.  Insisting that he wait for further results of the Sunday scans before he can make any further assumptions.  It warrants mentioning that Ballack was fit enough to join in the post-match celebrations with his teammates.

Germany defeated Malta 3-0 in an international friendly on Thursday without the services of their captain.  Despite the win, the Germans showed a desperate need for Ballack and other experienced players that were unavailable for the friendly due to club obligations.  The younger international players did not seem comfortable with one another and weren't converting on clear chances.

Germany has three more friendlies lined up against Hungary, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Denmark before their World Cup campaign kicks off on June 13th against Australia.