Saturday, July 10, 2010

3rd Place Play off - Uruguay vs Germany - Preview


18:30 GMT, July 10, 2010
Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth, South Africa

Often billed as the game that nobody cares about, the World Cup final third place play-off has some interesting storylines this year. While both sides will rue the performances that saw them dumped out of the spotlight, there is still a lot to play for as Germany take on surprise package Uruguay in Port Elizabeth.
Uruguay certainly want to end their wonderful tournament on a high as fans back in Montevideo celebrated their progression to the semi-finals (and ultimate defeat) to Netherlands as if they had got their hands on the trophy.
There will certainly be no shortage of desire on their part when the whistle blows, while strikers Diego Forlan and Luis Suarez still have something to prove on the world stage. Forlan is still in the running for the Golden Boot with his four goals currently one short of David Villa and Wesley Sneijder; while Suarez will be making his first appearance since his flagrant handball earned him a red card, one-game suspension and the condemnation of Africa for cruelly helping to knock out Ghana.
Meanwhile, Germany's Miroslav Klose (14) is chasing not only the Golden Boot, but also a chance to overtake Brazil legend Ronaldo (15) as the World Cup's greatest ever goalscorer if he can overcome a back injury. The Germans may not like their success in this game, but they have picked up three 3rd placed awards already - in 1934, 1970 and 2006 - with Bastian Schweinsteiger's brace making them 'reigning champions' in that respect.

Competition Stats

GoalsDiego Forlán 4Miroslav Klose 4
AssistsThomas Müller 3
YellowsJorge Fucile 2Thomas Müller 2
RedsLuis Suárez 1Miroslav Klose 1

Germany player to watch: Miroslav Klose. Germany are likely to rest a few of their big names, but Klose is certain to be chewing the ear off coach Joachim Low in a bid to start the game and break the World Cup scoring record - he needs to prove his fitness first though. Having been ready to join West Ham before the tournament, his goalscoring form has alerted the rest of Europe that he is not quite past his best just yet and another good performance will not only etch his name in history, but will likely guarantee his short-term future in club football as well.
Uruguay player to watch: Luis Suarez. Rather proud of his 'Hand of God' mark II, Suarez has been placed under increased security in South Africa as angry fans have made no secret of their desire to seek retribution for the handball that denied Ghana a last-gasp winner in their quarter-final. Arguably the most in-form attacker in world football, Suarez can do a lot to bolster his reputation if he fires and Uruguay will benefit from the pace and vision that he brings up front.
Key battle: Sami Khedira v Diego Forlan. Khedira has been one of the stars of the tournament thus far, showing confidence beyond his tender years in central midfield. That Germany have looked a better side without Michael Ballack is largely down to the Stuttgart midfielder, but he will have his work cut out with marking Forlan. The striker is playing behind a front two for his country at this World Cup and, in his new playmaking role, has flourished. Excellent control of the ball, tireless running and a propensity to score goals from outside the box make him a dangerous opponent and he will be fired up to ensure Uruguay go out with a bang.
Trivia: No World Cup third place play-off has ever ended in a draw. South American sides have met European teams in six third-place play-offs so far, with both continents picking up three wins. It's evenly matched.
Stats: Uruguay are without a win in their last 14 World Cup matches against European sides, a run that started with a 1-0 defeat to Germany in the third place play-off in 1970. And with 13 goals, Germany are the highest-scoring team at this World Cup so far.
Odds: Germany (5.00), Uruguay (3.60) and the draw (1.72) are available with Bet 365 but Miroslav Klose to score two or more goals - thus becoming the World Cup's greatest ever goalscorer - comes in at 8.00.
Prediction: Germany may not take the game as seriously as the Uruguayans and few neutrals would be sad to see the underdogs walk away with the win. Desire may play an important role and Uruguay can end their tournament on a high.

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