Chelsea's Germany international midfielder Michael Ballack has been ruled out of the World Cup finals due to an ankle injury sustained in the FA Cup final against Portsmouth.
The 33-year-old had to be replaced shortly before half-time of the 1-0 win over Pompey at Wembley which completed a league and cup double for the Blues.
Subsequent scans have revealed ligament damage in Ballack's right ankle which will keep him sidelined for at least eight weeks, meaning that he will miss out on the summer showpiece in South Africa.
Ballack had hit out at the challenge from Kevin-Prince Boateng which left him sidelined, saying:"It wasn't a good tackle.
"I've seen it on TV and it didn't look a good tackle and when I was on the pitch, I knew it would be really difficult to carry on. I tried, but it wasn't possible.
"I've had a few injuries and if you can't carry on, that's always a bad sign."
Ballack was preparing to play in his third World Cup finals, having scored 42 goals in 98 appearances for his country – having made his debut in April 1999 against Scotland.