Germany’s Michael Ballack has been ruled out of the World Cup after the ankle injury inflicted on him by Portsmouth’s Kevin Prince Boateng was much worse than feared.
While I have sympathy for any player injured after a bad tackle – and Boateng’s was certainly that – I do wonder if Ballack might now wish the cup final ref, Chris Foy, had been a bit stricter. A few moments before the tackle which injured him, Ballack was involved in an incident on the edge of the Portsmouth box which saw some pushing and shoving as the Pompey players believed the German had slapped Hayden Mullins. It was very much a case of flailing arms and I think Ballack knew he could do that, and possibly make contact without anyone being able to say it was deliberate.
There was then a bit of pushing and shoving and Ballack pushed one of the Portsmouth players in the face. It might even have been Boateng himself. The letter of the law says that if you raise your hands like that it’s a red card. It might have been soft but we’ve seen them given before.
I’m not saying the injury was karma but I bet he’s not as relieved now as he was then to get away with it.