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World Cup 2010: Germany 3-2 Uruguay

World Cup 2010 Third Place Match (Saturday 10th July 2010, K.O. 19:30 BST)
Venue: Port Elizabeth Stadium
Conditions: Cloudy and wet. Temp: 14c, Wind 9.0m/s

Germany: 3 (Mueller 19, Jansen 56, Khedira 82)
Uruguay: 2 (Cavani 28, Forlan 51)

Germany: Butt, Friedrich, Aogo, Mertesacker, Boateng, Khedira, Jansen (Kroos 81), Oezil (Tasci), Schweinsteiger (C), Mueller, Cacau (Kiessling 73).
Uruguay: Muslera, Lugano (C), Godin, Fucile, Caceres, M. Pereira, Perez (Gargano 77), Arevalo Rios, Cavani (Abreu 88), Forlan, Suarez.

Referee: Benito Archundia (Mexico)

Germany claimed the bronze medals at World Cup 2010 by edging out Uruguay in a thrilling third place play-off game in Port Elizabeth. It was a match characterised by end to end attacking football with plentiful chances for both teams and the lead changed hands three times as the momentum swung one way and then the other. There was also drama in the race for the Golden Boot.

The German camp had reportedly been hit by flu since their semi final defeat, with coach Joachim Loew one of the victims. He seemed to have made a full recovery in time for the game and looked sprightly on the touchline. Injuries forced captain Philipp Lahm, Lukas Podolski and Miroslav Klose out of his starting line up, with Dennis Aogo, Marcell Jansen and Cacau taking their places. Bastian Schweinsteiger was handed the armband for the evening. Klose’s injury denied him the chance of chasing the Golden Boot and a 15th World Cup goal in total that would have put him level with Ronaldo as joint all time World Cup topscorer. Thomas Mueller returned from his suspension and was also in with a shout of the golden boot, having replaced Piotr Trochowski on the right side of midfield, whilst Hans-Jorg Butt was handed a start in goal in place of Manuel Neuer.

For Uruguay, Luis Suarez and Jorge Fucile returned from their suspensions and captain Diego Lugano was back from injury. Diego Forlan overcame the slight muscle strain that forced him off at the end of the semi final but Nicolas Lodeiro was still ruled out by injury. Suarez and Forlan were both hopeful of scoring the goals that could see either of them crowned top scorer in South Africa.

Hamburger SV’s Dennins Aogo, winning only his third cap for Germany following his decision to pledge his allegiance to them rather than Nigeria, was extremely lucky not to have been sent off in the first few minutes for a horror tackle on Diego Perez. He went in hard and high, striking the Uruguayan’s shin with the bottom of his boot but the Mexican referee only produced a yellow card and fortunately Perez escaped unharmed.

The first good chance came in the tenth minute when Arne Friedrich met a Mesut Oezil corner at the far post to head against the crossbar with Muslera beaten. Germany had the better of the early exchanges and took the lead in the 19th minute when Schweinsteiger hit a venomous long range shot which was too hot for Muslera to handle and Thomas Mueller followed up to tuck home the rebound and claim his fifth goal of the tournament, which put him level with Villa and Sneijder at the head of the race for the Golden Boot.

Having been at the origin of the opening goal, Schweinsteiger was at fault for the equaliser in the 28th minute when he lost the ball to Perez in the centre of the park and Perez found Suarez in acres of space in the Germany half with Cavani making a good run to his left. Suarez’ perfectly weighted through ball bypassed Mertesacke and left Cavani with the simple job of slipping the ball past Butt and into the far corner to make it 1-1.

Uruguay ended the half on top and in the 42nd minute Luis Suarez should have had his fourth goal of the tournament as he was played clean through down the inside right channel but screwed his shot just wide of the far post. The entertaining first half ended on a high note with Muslera spilling a corner at one end but Uruguay reacting quickest to break with a man over at the other end and win a corner of their own from which Diego Forlan almost scored directly.

The second half was even more open and entertaining than the first as both teams went hell for leather in the last 45 minutes of their World Cup campaigns to try and secure third place. Forlan scored the goal of the game five minutes into the half after great work by Arevalo Rios down the right flank. He crossed the ball along the edge of the German box and the Atletico Madrid striker drove a superbly executed volley down into the ground and back up into the net shaving the right hand post with Butt helpless. The goal moved Forlan level with Mueller, Villa and Sneijder on five apiece.

Germany weren’t behind for long, equalising five minutes later through Jansen, who headed in a superb Boateng cross when Muslera came off his line and missed it. It was a difficult evening for Muslera, who struggled with high balls throughout the match and created uncertainty in his defence. They next twenty minutes were open and frantic and littered with goalscoring opportunities at each end. It was Germany who eventually broke the deadlock thanks to a set piece. Mesut Oezil’s 82nd minute corner was allowed to drop in the Uruguayan six yard box and, when Lugano failed to clear, it bounced up kindly for Khedira to loop a header into the top corner.

There was still time for a dramatic finish when Friedrich fouled Suarez deep into injury time for a central free kick just outside the box. Diego Forlan lined it up and, with what proved to be the very last kick of the match, struck a powerful shot over the German wall, past Butt’s outstretched hand and onto the crossbar just a fraction too high to take the game into extra time and to give him an outright lead in the top scorers chart.

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