Beck dropped from Germany squad

BERLIN - Defender Andreas Beck was the only player to be cut from Germany coach Joachim Low's 23-man World Cup squad on Tuesday after a string of injuries left him with few options.

Germany's 27-man preliminary squad was reduced to just 24 players when captain Michael Ballack, fellow midfielder Christian Traesch and versatile defender Heiko Westermann were ruled out of the June 11-July 11 tournament with injuries.

Low declined to call up other players to replace them and decided to cut just one player for his final 23-man squad ahead of the June 11-July 11 tournament in South Africa.

He also stuck with all six strikers despite the absences in midfield, as well as his exciting crop of younger players who were crowned European under-21 champions last year, including starting keeper Manuel Neuer, defenders Dennis Aogo and Jerome Boateng and playmakers Sami Khedira and Mesut Ozil.

"Obviously this is disappointing for Andreas Beck," said Low from the team's training cap in northern Italy.

"He invested a lot in this training camp and always behaved in a correct way. He even addressed the team (after the decision) and was awarded with a round of applause."

The 23-year-old Beck had won his first of seven caps in February last year but the past season was not the best for the Hoffenheim right back who was also injured.

Low's young team, led by new captain Philipp Lahm, now includes only six out-and-out midfielders.

The three-time World Cup winners have been drawn in Group D alongside Ghana, Australia and Serbia.

They play their last friendly match against Bosnia in Frankfurt on Thursday before departing for their tournament base near Pretoria in South Africa on June 6.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer (Schalke 04), Tim Wiese (Werder Bremen), Hans-Jorg Butt (Bayern Munich).

Defenders: Arne Friedrich (Hertha Berlin), Per Mertesacker (Werder Bremen), Jerome Boateng (Hamburg SV), Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich), Serdar Tasci (VfB Stuttgart), Marcell Jansen (Hamburg SV), Holger Badstuber (Bayern Munich), Dennis Aogo (Hamburg SV);

Midfielders: Sami Khedira (VfB Stuttgart), Toni Kroos (Bayer Leverkusen), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich), Marko Marin (Werder Bremen), Mesut Ozil (Werder Bremen), Piotr Trochowski (Hamburg SV);

Strikers: Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich), Miroslav Klose (Bayern Munich), Lukas Podolski (Cologne), Mario Gomez (Bayern Munich), Stefan Kiessling (Bayer Leverkusen), Cacau (VfB Stuttgart).

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