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World Cup kickaround: Ballack, rosters, terrorism

*Portsmouth's Kevin-Prince Boateng has apologized for ending German captain Michael Ballack's World Cup plans:

"I was just too late and I hit him straight on. It looked stupid. I apologized to him twice on the field and now for a third time. I am sorry. It was not intentional."

While the reaction in Germany media has been largely sympathetic to Ballack's plight, Berlin's Der Tagesspeigel offered this harsh view of the Nationalmannschaft's leader:

"This selfless and tragic hero who fights for his Fatherland but still misses out on the biggest victories is also occasionally an arrogant provocateur. He made clear on the pitch four years ago that he considered Boateng a little turd. And shortly before the brutal foul, Ballack gave him a mean little swat to the face to let him know it."

What will Germany's lineup look like without Ballack? Here are some possibilities.

*Chile cuts five players from its provisional roster. South Korea dismisses four. Switzerland loses veteran defender Christoph Spycher to a knee injury.

*Did Iraqi security forces foil a terrorist plot against the World Cup?

For a U.S. item and today's TV listings.....

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

*U.S. Coach Bob Bradley, on the players' awareness of the 1950 upset of England, this year's opening opponent:

"One thing we have always done is talked a little bit about history within our team. I think it is important that they do understand about the people that have come before them. You talk about soccer moments in the United States -- that's one that is special. I was in New York a couple weeks ago. We did a launch of our jersey that is designed based upon the 1950 jersey. It was great because [1950 U.S. player] Walter Bahr was there. Anytime you can get to spend a few minutes with Walter Bahr, it's a treat because he is one of the great guys, great gentlemen in this country in sports. They know a little bit about him."

*Soccer on TV:
England playoff, Millwall-Huddersfield 2:40 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer Plus
Uruguay, Nacional-Penarol 7:30 p.m. 3 p.m. GolTV
Copa Libertadores, Libertad-Chivas 9 p.m. Fox Sports Espanol

By Steve Goff  |  May 18, 2010; 8:52 AM ET
Categories:  2010 World Cup , Germany , South Africa , TV , U.S. men's national team  | Tags: Bob Bradley, Christoph Spycher, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Michael Ballack, Soccer, South Africa, World Cup, terrorism  
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Next: U.S. World Cup training camp update


So Ballack had it coming? I don't think so. The stupid reckless foul deprived Germany, and the world, of one of the world's best players for this year's Finals. So it stinks for Ballack, for Germany, and for supporters of the game.

I'd rather have shared some of the many sympathetic German or world reactions than the harsh view.

Posted by: OWNTF | May 18, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Grosso, Candreva cut from Italy; Lippi won't announce who his 5 alternates are.

Posted by: Reignking | May 18, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

The most interesting thing about that Chile article is finding out that Mexico actually had a friendly in...Mexico.

Posted by: Reignking | May 18, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Löw better swallow his pride and get Frings on the roster. He is probably the main reason why Werder Bremen had been so competitive in the last decade, and he has the talent to provide a lot of what Ballack did.

Posted by: rademaar | May 18, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Ballack has had it coming for a long time. He's an arrogant player and a constant complainer, hes always in the refs ear. Every time I watch Chelsea play he does something to someone where I say this guy has it coming.

Posted by: francisco_11 | May 18, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

No. Nobody has that coming. Not even Blanco.

And by the way, nice PK Boateng. World class.

Posted by: OWNTF | May 18, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Nobody "has it coming" to him...but there is karma in the soccer world.

Posted by: soccerman | May 18, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: DadRyan | May 18, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

No. Nobody has that coming. Not even Blanco.

Posted by: OWNTF | May 18, 2010 10:20 AM

Really? if anyone in the soccer world "has it coming", its gotta be Blanco. or maybe Ruiz.

Posted by: VTUnited | May 18, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Well if there is such karma in soccer (which I do not believe) then Boateng "has it coming." Karmaphala, little turd.

Posted by: OWNTF | May 18, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

I am not a Ballack fan, but that was an intential assault by Boateng. There was a similar two-footed scissors tackle in the Mexico-Chile "friendly." This has got to stop. We all lose when players are intentionally injured on the pitch. Where is FIFA? I remember a World Cup where pulling a shirt was an automatic red card, which was ridiculous. How about making an sliding, two-footed scissors tackle an automatic red card, whether there is an injury or not?

Posted by: jack35 | May 18, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

A few weeks ago there was a small debate on SI about DC's most popular athlete. I responded that the WP had already done research and a poll on this and Ovechkin won hands down. Today there is another poll asking who is DC's second most popular athlete which states Ovi is a given as the most popular but who is number two. The link is below and right now Backstrom is the leader for second most popular.

Posted by: croftonpost | May 18, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Wasn't the Libertad-Chivas match last night??

Posted by: rockotodd | May 18, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

@Dad, yes Fatherland. It's part of their national anthem.

And as long as we're into 1950s history today, here's a clip of the Weltmeisters from 1954, a team of amateurs, after their victory over the commies, with supporters singing the anthem.

Posted by: OWNTF | May 18, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

I voted for Backstrom. However, I was disappointed that Jaime wasn't on the list.

Posted by: blackandred777 | May 18, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

re: "Where is FIFA?" Posted by: jack35

Did you check the VIP room?

Posted by: Ron16 | May 18, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

That Iraqi article starts out real nice, talking about security at the World Cup and parading fire engines in South Africa and making arrests and such, but then it turns to a gruesome story about the beheading of a cleric and an account of how his son found the headless body of his father. Ick! It makes me wonder who took the man's head off of the post in the street? Did a family member have to do that terrible act? How traumatic! The article is like a bait and switch.

Posted by: WorldCup | May 18, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Nobody has it coming, but some people I wouldn't mind it happenig to...

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | May 18, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

I don't ever wish injury on a player but Ballack did make plenty of enemies on the pitch. It looks like it caught up to him. And let the record show that I can't stand Ballack but I wouldn't want to deprive a player of the World Cup Finals.

Posted by: grubbsbl | May 18, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Ballack is a great player. I do feel sorry for him missing what is likely to be his last world cup. And don't forget there is a history between these two players before the incident in the FA cp final.
Having said that, in general I have noticed his game has change a bit over the past few years. Maybe it's the reputation of the EPL but he has become a bit of an inforcer on the field. Late challanges, elbows, slapping and jawing at apposing players. Maybe I am missing something but I don't recall him be that type of player while in Germany. It's a shame but if you choose to play that role you'd better keep your head on a swivel.

Posted by: section108 | May 18, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

fyi for Arlington folks:

Washington Freedom player appearance TODAY at the Smoothie King at Ballston Mall (850 N. Randolph St.).

On a rainy day like this, why not celebrate some local soccer prowess?

Nicole Marshall will be there from 5 to 6pm this afternoon.

Posted by: troy6 | May 18, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Ballack is a German Beckham. Super overrated. I don't watch the EPL much but his impact there has not been special. At the 2006 Cup and the 2008 European Cup I didn't see much there. He deserved to be on the team but is nowhere near the best German player.

Posted by: GeneWells | May 18, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Interesting you mention this troy, the LilRyan and I actually have the replay of the Beat/Freedom match on the tube as we speak...:)

She was just telling me that she "wants to go to the girls game, so she can play"...:)

Posted by: DadRyan | May 18, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

I've got a question or two about the Freedom,
will they be playing starters at this friendly they are playing at George Mason this weekend, and is anyone familiar with the policy on young kids attending games at Geo Mason Stadium(at what age do they start charging?) My daughter just turned 3 a couple weeks ago, and we were able to get into a United game recently without having to pay for her. Am I overlooking something thinking that this game this weekend might be a fun opportunity to take the kid to see the ladies play?

Posted by: DadRyan | May 18, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Dad I would call them at (866) 761-GOAL. They're friendly and pretty eager to get people in the doors, in my epxerience.

Also a $20 ticket to this friendly will get you a free ticket to a future Freedom game at the Plex (I forget which one, not Marta).

Posted by: OWNTF | May 18, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Ballack is a German Beckham. Super overrated. I don't watch the EPL much but his impact there has not been special. At the 2006 Cup and the 2008 European Cup I didn't see much there. He deserved to be on the team but is nowhere near the best German player.

Posted by: GeneWells | May 18, 2010 12:45 PM

So I guess you weren't watching when Chelesa started scoring touchdowns for scorelines? That came about when Ballck moved to the back of the diamond, in front of the back four and started leading the Chelsea attack out of the back, switching attacks from left to right to center like a master. But, hey, you're the expert.

Posted by: Boogie_Knight | May 18, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: DadRyan

Good book. Horrible film adaptation.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | May 18, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Thanks OWNTF, the free ticket is to the July 10th match at the plex which interferes with DCU's visit to Red Bull Arena... Even with a completely toothless attack from United I'm still pretty committed to going up there checking out what it's like seeing DCU play in a World Class facility before they get moved to Portland.:(

Posted by: DadRyan | May 18, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

The Freedom game will be shown on CSN once more, at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday:

Will parking for Sunday's game at GMU be free? If so, that would be nice, especially in light of the fact that they are now charging $10 for parking at the 'Plex.

Posted by: universityandpark | May 18, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

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