The dream of reaching the final is over for Germany and Uruguay but both teams will want to go out of the 2010 World Cup on a high note by winning today’s third place match. The great thing about third place matches for spectators is that usually it is high scoring with both teams not having much to lose and therefore going all out to score. Also, third place matches are kinda like a day at the spa, all about relaxation, enjoyment, de-stressing before the most stressful, nail-biting of all matches, the Final.
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Uruguay have been the dark horse of the tournament. They have won the World Cup twice but no one really remembers when and no one ever imagined they’d be playing to secure a 3rd place in this World Cup. Los Charrúas featured in the last four of a World Cup for the first time in 40 years. Uruguay’s journey at this World Cup has been a real adventure and full of surprises. They played the most dramatic match of this World Cup so far, winning in controversial manner and which might lead to the intoduction of goal-line technology and forever change the beautiful game. They also surprised the Dutch by putting up a real fight in the Semi-final losing by a narrow 3-2 scoreline. The nation of only 3 million people won the very first World Cup and hasn’t been a big achiever in football for a long long time and to be officially tagged as the ‘third best team at the World Cup’ would be a great achievement for this football crazy country.
Luis Suarez who was suspended for the Semi-Final against Netherlands will return for Uruguay however star striker Diego Forlan picked up an injury in the last match and could miss out. Oscar Tabarez will most likely go with his tried and tested 4-3-3 formation with Fernando Muslera in goal and Maximiliano Pereira, Mauricio Victorinio, Diego Godin, Jorge Fucile at the back. In the midfield Egidio Arévalo Ríos will sit back with Alvaro Pereira and Diego Perez expected to provide width. Edinson Cavani, Diego Forlan and Luis Suarez will play up front and form Uruguay’s attack.
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To say that Germany have impressed is like saying that ‘Nutella’ is ‘ just alright’. They have made many football newbies and neutrals fall head over heels in love with them and left rival supporters shuddering at the prospect of meeting them in Euro 2012.The German football system is already being quoted as an example for nations who have been less fortunate (read England) in achieving their World Cup ambitions. Today, Joachim Loew will want his players to just go out there, play their game, enjoy the occasion and if Miroslav Klose can beat Ronaldo’s 15 goal World Cup record, it will be a bonus, albeit a deserved one. We will finally get to judge just how important the young Thomas Muller, who comes back into the starting XI after serving a one-match suspension, is to Germany’s cause. Unfortunately, Germany’s ‘national’ goal scoring machine Miroslav Klose might miss out on today’s game and an opportunity to set a new World Cup record due to an injury. Loew will go with a 4-2-3-1 formation with Manuel Neuer in goal and Arne Friedrich, Per Mertesacker, Philipp Lahm, Jerome Boateng at the back. Sami Khedira and Bastian Schweinsteiger will look to control the midfield. Miroslav Klose will lead Germany’s attack with Mesut Ozil and Thomas Muller and Lukas Podolski playing behind him.
Both team will definitely play an open game and will put up a good show for the fans as they bow out of the World Cup. It will be a chance for the fans to see some stars playing their last World Cup match and while other ‘newly’ discovered stars like Muller and Ozil will get an opportunity to impress the fans again and leave them with high expectations for the next World Cup. Today’s fixture is all about the joy of football and a tribute to skills and ability and spirit of both these wonderful teams. Germany’s young team might just win their consecutive World Cup 3rd place today.
“Finishing fourth is not the same as third. We’ll go into the game with the same passion as we did against Holland.” – Oscar Tabarez, Uruguay manager
“Nobody needs to hang their heads low and we want to have a good final match.” – Joachim Loew, Germany manager
Stars to Watch Out For
Uruguay: Luis Suarez, Diego Forlan, Fernando Muslera
Germany: Thomas Muller, Miroslav Klose, Mesut Ozil, Bastian Schweinsteiger
Uruguay’s loss to Holland in the semi-final was their first international defeat of 2010
This is a record fifth appearance in a World Cup third-place play-off match for Germany – they have won three times (1934, 1970 and 2006) and lost once (1958)