Wednesday, 06 Jul, 2022


Germany`s time has come, says Ballack

Sports Desk |
Update: 2010-07-06 20:58:48

LONDON: Germany`s time has come to win the World Cup for the fourth time claimed injured captain Michael Ballack in his column for The Times on Wednesday.

The 33-year-old - who was ruled out of the World Cup after suffering an ankle injury in Chelsea`s 1-0 FA Cup final win over Portsmouth - admitted avenging the Euro 2008 final defeat by Spain in their World Cup semi-final later on Wednesday in Durban would be difficult, but his compatriots could do it.

"It will be difficult to beat Spain tonight, but this is our time," wrote Ballack, who has rejoined one of his former clubs, Bayer Leverkusen, after being released by Chelsea.

"Germany have been the best team in the World Cup and just have to keep it going. Spain deserved to win the European Championship final against us two years ago, but with the confidence we`ve gained from our past two performances (a 4-1 win over old foes England and a 4-0 humbling of Argentina), I think its our moment."

Ballack, who missed out on the 2002 World Cup final defeat by Brazil as he was suspended and was in the side that lost to Spain in the Euro 2008 final, said that Germany like Spain two years ago had peaked at the right time.

"We`re playing the best football in the tournament, just as Spain did two years ago," he wrote.

"Every team have ups and downs, but its a great skill to peak for a tournament.

"A German skill, I think England played very well in qualifying but made no impact at the tournament.

"We`re England in reverse."

Ballack, who says he intends to play on in international football despite several older heads like World Cup winning skipper Lothar Matthaus telling him to retire, said it was not possible to compare the present German side and that of the one who won as West Germany in 1990.

"Its great to play nice football, but this team need to win something," he said.

"We`re only in the semi-finals and there`s no point putting in two great performances and losing.

"The 1990 team were winners and that`s what we want to be.

"The point of entering a tournament is to win it."

Ballack, who faces a fight to regain the captain`s armband as his replacement Philipp Lahm has said he doesn`t see why he should surrender it, admitted that Germany would miss young rising star Thomas Mueller, who is suspended.

"Thomas Mueller will be missed against Spain because he scores goals, creates assists and works hard for the team," said Ballack who came to South Africa to watch the England and Argentina matches but has returned to Germany for rehabilitation treatment though he is booked to return for the final.

"Everyone in Germany has been surprised by his success. When I was at Bayern Munich four years ago, I didn`t even know who he was because he was just one of many 16-year-old kids.

"He wasn`t like Wayne Rooney in England, whom everyone knew was going to be a big star."

Ballack said that Mueller`s absence would place even greater focus on striker Miroslav Klose - who like Mueller has scored four goals at the finals.

"Without him (Mueller), Klose will be even more important," he wrote.

"He`s an unusual player, who has always needed the trust of the coach.

"But if he feels the manager likes him, he will play well, and that`s what he gets with the national team."

BDST: 1600hrs, July 7, 2010

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