Germany won’t focus on Kevin-Prince Boateng in decisive match against Ghana

By Nesha Starcevic, AP
Sunday, June 20, 2010

Germany won’t focus only on Boateng against Ghana

ERASMIA, South Africa — Kevin-Prince Boateng will not be a target for Germany when it meets Ghana in a decisive Group D match at the World Cup.

The man who brought down Germany captain Michael Ballack in the FA Cup final last month won’t receive any more attention than the other opposing players Wednesday at Soccer City in Johannesburg.

“We are playing Ghana and not Kevin-Prince Boateng,” Germany general manager Oliver Bierhoff said Sunday. “Feelings about one person have to be set aside.”

Germany needs a win to assure advancing following its 1-0 loss to Serbia. Ghana is coached by a Serb, Milan Rajevac, and leads the group with four points. The Germans have 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 squads before switching allegiance to the country where his father was born, became one of the most vilified men in online chats when his tackle hurt Ballack’s right ankle shortly before the World Cup.

Asked if Germany could have used Ballack’s experience and leadership 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 neighborhood, 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 men 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 won the under-21 title last year. Kevin-Prince decided to play for Ghana.

Matthias Sammer, the sports director of the German 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.

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