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Thursday, 27 June, 2002, 09:09 GMT 10:09 UK

Heartbreak for Ballack

Germany's Michael Ballack has admitted to breaking down in tears after realising he would miss the World Cup final.

The midfielder scored the winning goal in his country's semi-final victory over South Korea.

However, only four minutes before scoring the winner, he picked up a yellow card which ruled him out of the final against Brazil.

"It's difficult to say how I feel now because I can't really imagine what it will be like to only sit on the bench for the final," the 25-year-old said.

Ballack on target

Ballack appeared to be in control of his emotions as he discussed his fate and key role in Germany's win and route to the final.

He also scored the winner in the 1-0 quarter-final victory over the USA.

However, he admitted that he had not been so composed when he returned to the dressing room after celebrating the victory on the pitch.

"I was sad and I even shed a tear or two," he confessed.

"Anybody who has been a footballer will know how I feel.

"Four years ago the same thing happened to Laurent Blanc and I felt for him when I watched him on television.

" He placed himself at the service of the team and the whole of Germany "
Rudi Voeller on Ballack

"Obviously I wish my team-mates every success in the final and I'll be with the team on the pitch in my heart even if I won't be out there with them."

Ballack picked up his second booking of the tournament for a cynical foul on South Korea's Lee Chun-Soo.

Coach Rudi Voeller praised the selflessness of his midfielder in committing a "tactical foul".

Ballack's absence from the final will be a major blow to Voeller's plans.

Along with goalkeeper Oliver Kahn, he has been one of Germany's outstanding player and was included in Fifa's 10-man short-list for the player of the tournament.

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