Germany won't focus only on Boateng - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Germany won't focus only on Boateng

21/06/2010 07:17:36 AM Comments (0)

Germany will try to avoid focusing on Kevin-Prince Boateng when it plays Ghana in a decisive Group D match.

Boateng knocked Germany captain Michael Ballack out of the World Cup with his tackle in the FA Cup final, injuring Ballack's ankle.

"We are playing Ghana and not Kevin-Prince Boateng" when the two teams meet Wednesday at Soccer City, Germany general manager Oliver Bierhoff said. "Feelings about one person have to be set aside."

Germany needs to win to be sure of advancing following its 1-0 loss to Serbia. Ghana is coached by a Serb, Milan Rajevac, and leads the group with four points.

Germany has three points after beating Australia 4-0 and losing to Serbia. Ghana beat Serbia 1-0, then drew 1-1 with 10-man Australia.

"Ghana is a physical team that has interesting players up front. But they have shown some defensive weaknesses that we can use," Bierhoff said. "It's not a team we need to fear. We have confidence and we have quality."

Boateng, who grew up in Berlin and played for Germany's junior sides before switching allegiance and declared himself eligible for the country of his father, became one of the most vilified men in online chats and forums when his tackle injured Ballack shortly before the World Cup.

Asked if Germany could have used the experience of Ballack against Serbia, Bierhoff said, "It would have been good to have had him from the start, not only against Serbia."

Boateng's half brother, Jerome, is a Germany defender, although he has not yet played at the tournament.

The Boatengs have the same Ghanaian father and different German mothers. Both grew up in Berlin but in different circumstances. Kevin-Prince is the product of a tough working-class neighbourhood, while Jerome lived in an upscale district in western Berlin.

Through his mother, Kevin-Prince is related to Helmut Rahn - his great-uncle who scored the winning goal for Germany in the final of the 1954 World Cup.

Neither of the brothers has even been to Ghana. They played together at Hertha Berlin before going their own ways. Kevin-Prince now plays for Portsmouth, while Jerome is reportedly leaving Hamburger SV to play for Manchester City.

Kevin-Prince is the flashier of the two brothers and once bought a Lamborghini, a Hummer and a vintage Cadillac in one day.

Both half brothers were in Germany's under-21 squad. When one player had to be cut from the squad, Kevin-Prince was the victim of a vote by the team council, which reportedly objected to his late arrival for several meetings.

Jerome stayed on the team, which went on to with the under-21 title last year. Kevin-Prince decided to play for Ghana.

Matthias Sammer, the sports director of the German football federation, told Spiegel magazine: "A lack of discipline and egotism can be discerned in Kevin-Prince. When it comes to his athletic and mental constitution, Jerome is the stronger player."

After Kevin-Prince's tackle on Ballack, Germany players went out of their way to show their support for Jerome, who made his debut in a key World Cup qualifying match in Russia - and got sent off with two yellow cards.

Bierhoff described the mood in the German camp as more subdued than at the start of the tournament but that the confidence was still there.

The players got some time off after the game against Serbia "to clear their heads," Bierhoff said, before coming together for training Sunday. Coach Joachim Loew gathered his players in a circle and appeared to be giving them a pep talk before the session.

Loew and captain Philipp Lahm have both said Germany would advance to the second round "100 per cent" despite the loss to Serbia.

The three-time champions have never gone home after the group stage. Germany was runner-up in 2002 and finished third at home four years ago.

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