Germany and Uruguay locked horns with each other for yet another consolation match. These two teams have already played in a world cup third place face off. Germany prevailed by a solitary goal in that match. This is Germany’s 5th third place play-off, which is a record. This was also their 99th world cup match, highest number of matches played by any team in the world cup.
Even veteran German goal machine Miroslav Klose was on the verge of rewriting history for scoring the maximum number of goals in the world cup. Suarez came back for the Uruguayans after being suspended for one match for his goal keeping act against Ghana in the quarter final. Captain Lugano was also declared fit for the match.
On the other hand, a sudden back injury harshly shattered Klose’s dream of becoming the highest goal scorer in the history of the World Cup. Even Podolski and Lahm were out, suffering from influenza. Klose was replaced by Cacau. Jansen replaced Podolski to play in an offensive position whereas Nigerian born Aogo replaced Lahm. Muller, who was suspended for the semifinal against Spain, came back into the team in place of Trochowski. Schweinsteiger was made the captain for the day for Die Mannschaft.
Germany started the match off with great intensity, as if to prove the hunger that was still left in them after the semi final defeat against Spain. Cacau put the ball into the back of the net on fourth minute only to be denied by the linesman as Müller was in an offside position before setting him up.
Soon after, Germany followed it up with two back to back corners. The second corner caused enough drama as Frierich’s deft header went past Muslera, the spectator, to kiss the crosspiece and the rebound found Müller’s head. His header from close range was calmly parried away by Godin to relative safety.
Then on 19th minute, Germany opened their goal scoring account for the day. Following an artistic build up, Schweinsteiger found some space in front of the Uruguayan penalty box and did not hesitate to drill the ball towards goal. Muslera, hard done by the incessant rainfall and the movement of Jabulani, could only manage to thwart the ball partially and a poaching Müller made no mistake to put the Germans in front with a simple finish off the rebound. This was his fifth goal of the tournament in his very first world cup.
Germans followed it up with another counter attack that ended in an offside on Khedira. Then, just before the half hour mark, on the brink of another counter attack led by Schweinsteiger, Diego Perez battled with him and won the ball and immediately passed it to Suarez. Suarez unselfishly played the ball in for Cavani who was making his run behind Mertesacker. Cavani received the ball well and his well placed low shot beat Bütt tolevel the score for the Uruguayans.
The goal gave the Uruguayans the much needed belief in their ability and from then on they were attacking in numbers, mainly through the left flank of the German defense where Aogo was struggling to keep pace with the flying Uruguayan, Suarez. Before the break Suarez again got some space to work upon. He was awfully left unmark by Aogo. Suarez hurled inside the right edge of the penalty box and was one on one with Bütt. But Bütt made no mistake in cutting the angle for Suarez; as a result, the close range effort went just away from the far post.
Uruguay seemed possessed even after the break. Just after three minutes the game restarted, they went berserk on the break. Forlan cut inside and then released the ball to an unmarked Cavani into penalty box. But before Cavani could exploit the through ball, Bütt intervenes. But his clearance rebounded back to Cavani who cleverly back passes the ball to Suarez, who only had to shoot into an almost open net. But Bütt miraculoously gets his hand in the way to parry the ball away for a corner.
Before the German defense could settle down in front of this Latin onslaught, came in a huge blow for Löw’s men. Arevalo worked well with Suarez to leap frog Aogo and sent his cross to an unmarked Forlan near the edge of the penalty box. Forlan pulled off an absolute blinder of a half volley into the back of the net, leaving Bütt as a mere spectator. The goal seemed to have some positive effect on the Germans as they came out of hibernation with a purpose – and within 5 minutes they got their reward. Caceres let Boateng curve in a well placed cross which Muslera completely misjudged and instead the ball hit Jansen’s head and went into the net.
Uruguyans still did not lose heart and kept taking chances of the gaps left by the overtures of Boateng and
Aogo on both the flanks. Forlan came one on one with Bütt on such an occasion, but Bütt again cut in the angle for Forlan, so that he could only manage to hit at Bütt’s body.
Germany soon made their first change and replaced a subdued Cacau with Kießling. Kießling was immediately called in to action and his powerful shot was blocked away by Muslera. Soon Boateng again curved in another beautiful cross, tantalizingly out of Kießling’s reach. To keep the pressure up, Germany substituted a more defensive minded Jansen with Kroos.
Germany by then started to hit on the counter and won several corners. With less than ten minutes left in the clock, Germany went ahead for the second time in the game. Özil’s corner evaded Müller and Muslera, but the rebound from Godin hit Lugano and popped up in front of Khedira. Khedira kept his cool and headed the ball home amidst all the confusion to help Germany take lead.
That was almost the end of the match. However, Forlan had other thoughts in his mind. Right at the last moment of the match, Friedrich, who could not keep pace with a bustling Suarez, brought him down just outside the penalty box. Referee Benito Archundia made no mistake and punished Friedrich with a yellow card. The resultant freekick beat a diving Bütt only to dramatically crash into the crosspiece and move away.
That was the last action of the match. Germany won their 4th third place play off, a record held and bettered by them. The Uruguyans played their hearts out and two close matches resulting with the same scoreline was what separated them from glory.
TheHardTackle’s Player of the Match: Luiz Suarez(Uruguay)
The talismanic Ajax hitman was creating havoc down the left flank of the German defense. He played with the same intensity throughout the match. He skinned Aogo more often than not and also set up Cavani for the first goal. Played through balls to Cavani and Forlan unselfishly. His intelligent runs brought a couple of one on one chances to him. His pace and never say die attitude won his team a free kick in the last second of the match which was almost on its way to change the course of the match for the sixth time.
TheHardTackle’s Referee Report Card: Benito Archundia (Mexico) – Grade: B+ (Good)
The Mexican referee had a good game. He did not make any mistakes. He did not stop the game unnecessarily. But at times towards the end of the game, the Uruguayans started committing vicious challenges to break the German possesion. Archundia might have handled those situations better.
URUGUAY 2-3 GERMANY
Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Uruguay Line-Up: Fernando Muslera, Jorge Fucile, Diego Lugano(c), Diego Godin, Martin Caceres, Diego Perez (Walter Gargano 88′), Egidio Arevalo, Maximiliano Pereira, Edinson Cavani(Sebastian Abrieu 88′), Luis Suarez, Diego Forlan
Manager: Oscar Tabarez
Caution: Diego Perez
Scorer: Edinson Cavani(28′), Diego Forlan(51′)
Germany Line-Up: Hans JÖrge Bütt,Jerome Boateng, Arne Friedrich, Per Mertesacker, Dennis Aogo, Sami Khedira, Bastian Schweinsteiger(c), Thomas Müller, Mesut Özil(Serdar Tasci 90+1′), Marcell Jansen(Toni Kroos 81′), Cacau(Stefan Kießling 73′)
Manager: Joachim Löw
Caution: Cacau, Dennis Aogo, Arne Friedrich
Scorers: Thomas Müller(19′), Marcell Jansen(56′), Sami Khedira(82′)