Phillip Buckley

What: FIFA 2010 World Cup
Who: Germany vs Uruguay (Third place playoff)
When: Saturday 10th July, 2010, at 19:30 UK Time
Where: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth, South Africa

Fully Recovered from Heartbreak?

The Germans suffered a repeat of their Euro 2008 final loss at the hands of the Spaniards on Wednesday night. What had been billed as a revenge mission fell short as the Spanish simply controlled the game from start to finish. Joachim Loew’s side, which had seemed so fearsome when disposing of England and Argentina 4-1 and 4-0 respectively, seemed toothless.

How will Germany recover from yet more heartache at the hands of the European Champions? Striker Lukas Podolski had boasted before the semi-final of wanting "revenge for 2008". Now the question seems to be whether they can summon one more shift from their body against Uruguay.

Loew’s side will want third place, make no bones about it. The truth is that the 2010 World Cup may have come too soon for a side who are mostly comprised of players in their early 20s. With Miroslav Klose a doubt for the game, the Germany which takes to the pitch in Port Elizabeth could be an even closer approximation of that which will contest the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Should have been in the Final

Uruguay enter this third place playoff with belief still cursing through the squad that it should have been they, and not Holland, who will contest the final against Spain. Missing goalscoring hotshot Luis Suarez and captain Diego Lugao, the South Americans can be forgiven for feeling they did not catch the Dutch at their best. Even so, against the Oranje they produced moments of pressure, lost by just a single goal and looked thoroughly composed. There was every reason to believe Suarez especially could have made the difference.

So what motivates Uruguay for this third place playoff? Perhaps the fact that, apart from when La Celeste last won the World Cup in 1930 and 1950, third would be their best finish in the tournament. Uruguay have already enjoyed the best World Cup of any South American nation, but third would cemente it that little more.

The motivation of Diego Forlan, who has his eyes on the Golden Boot, should also not be overlooked. At 31 years old, the Atletico Madrid striker might even be taking part in his last World Cup, and currently just one goal behind Wesley Sneijder and David Villa, Forlan could yet waltz off with the top goalscoring prize.

Recent form

Australia 0-4 Germany (13/06; World Cup – Group D)
Germany 0-1 Serbia (18/06; World Cup – Group D)
Germany 1-0 Ghana (23/06; World Cup – Group D)
Germany 4-1 England (27/06; World Cup – Round of 16)
Argentina 0-4 Germany (03/07; World Cup – Quarter-final)
Spain 1-0 Germany (07/07; World Cup – Semi-final)

France 0-0 Uruguay (11/06; World Cup – Group A)
South Africa 0-3 Uruguay (16/06; World Cup – Group A)
Uruguay 1-0 Mexico (22/06; World Cup – Group A)
Uruguay 2-1 South Korea (26/06; World Cup – Round of 16)
Uruguay 1-1 Ghana (02/07; Uruguay won 4-2 on penalties; World Cup – Quarter-final)
Holland 3-2 Uruguay (06/07; World Cup – Semi-final)

Players to watch

Germany – Philipp Lahm: The Bayern Munich full back has been his usual solid self throughout the tournament and his willingness to get forward at every opportunity has set an example for the rest of the side. Lahm stated this week that he wished to keep the captaincy, even when, as expected, Michael Ballack returns. Leaving the captaincy with the 26-year-old would surely be a better bet for Germany, but Lahm needs to keep pressing his claims.

Uruguay – Diego Forlan: Set on the Golden Boot, it’s not hard to believe Forlan will be going all out to score against Germany. Full of confidence, the former Man Utd striker simply believes he can score from anywhere. Long range screamers have become his hallmark at these World Cup finals. Expected to lead the line, Forlan is the man who can be a match winner for Uruguay.

Match prediction

While Uruguay find themselves still full of belief as they enter this match, the Germans will arrive somewhat downbeat. Outplayed by Spain, Germany were shown up as second best in their semi-final. That is not to say they cannot dust themselves off and go again. That, after all, is what great teams do. But Germany have lost their momentum, while Uruguay have kept more of it. Regardless of what Paul the Octopus predicts, Uruguay will triumph here.

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