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Ballack to miss World Cup

BERLIN, May 17- Germany captain Michael Ballack has been forced out of the World Cup finals due to an ankle injury which has sidelined him for two months, the German football federation (DFB) said Monday.Chelsea forward Ballack was told he could play no part in the June 11-July 11 finals after a scan revealed the severity of an ankle injury suffered in the FA Cup final win over Portsmouth on Saturday.

Ballack limped out of the FA Cup final win after a heavy tackle and was left sweating over his World Cup chances despite X-ray scans revealing no broken bones.

Prevented from undergoing a MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan Sunday due to heavy swelling, a scan Monday by DFB doctor Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wohlfahrt finally brought the news Ballack did not want to hear: an eight-week layoff.

The DFB said in a statement: "His 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."

At 33 years old, the South Africa finals would likely have been Ballack’s final World Cup campaign. He has 98 caps and 42 goals to his name,

Ballack is one of Germany’s most influential players and news of his impending absence will not go unnoticed by Germany’s World Cup group opponents Australia, whom they face in their opening game on June 13.

Germany will also face Serbia and Ghana in Group D.

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