Boatengs' brotherly love on hold

Kevin-Prince and Jerome Boateng cut contact as they become the first brothers to play against each other at a World Cup.

    It is the first time two brothers had played against each other in a World Cup [GALLO/GETTY]
    It is the first time two brothers had played against each other in a World Cup [GALLO/GETTY]

    Kevin-Prince Boateng and half-brother Jerome grew up in the tough Berlin district of Wedding, learning about the subtleties of soccer and the inequalities of life in tiny caged-in cement playgrounds the size of an inner city basketball court.

    The Boateng boys have come a long way from that under-privileged, run-down high-rise section of Berlin and will once again be applying those life lessons learned on the biggest stage at the World Cup.

    In really tight matches for Germany there was never anyone who stepped up to take charge

    Kevin-Prince Boateng, Ghana forward

    Kevin-Prince and his Ghana team square off against Jerome and Germany in the Group G showdown, a rematch for thebrothers of their 2010 battle in South Africa which Germany won 1-0.

    The Boatengs made World Cup history - the first time two brothers had played against each other in the tournament.

    A charismatic and natural leader on and off the pitch, Kevin-Prince has rarely shied away from expressing his opinion.

    The muscular midfielder recently made headlines for saying Germany does not have any "Typen" ("tough-guy") leaders who step up and take charge when the chips are down - criticism that made waves.

    "In really tight matches for Germany there was never anyone who stepped up to take charge," said Kevin-Prince, 27, ahead of the Germany match. "It's a fundamental truth."

    Boatengs' contrasting styles

    By contrast, Jerome is a natural born follower and admits he has always looked up to his older brother, who once led his AC Milan team off the field after being racially abused by fans.

    "I'm proud of him," Jerome said in a Berlin newspaper interview last year of his brother who now plays for Schalke 04.

    The two communicate regularly but tend to avoid contact during the World Cup. Jerome ardently defends his older brother against the lingering criticism in Germany for Kevin-Prince's foul against Ballack in the Premier League shortly before the 2010 World Cup that knocked the captain out of the tournament.

    "The public's image of him isn't the best in Germany," said Jerome. "That wasn't his intention but it happened and it seemed to confirm a lot of people's stereotype: 'the ghetto kicker' from the troubled district, the gangster footballer from Wedding. He was made a villain in Germany over that foul."

    Germany will play Ghana on 21 June at the Estadio Castelao in Fortaleza.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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