Saturday, July 10, 2010

3rd/4th playoff: Uruguay Germany preview

This is the match that nobody wants to play. It is essentially a meaningless game. Both sides have been knocked out of the tournament and cannot win the World Cup. Their big games were the semis so it could be difficult to get motivated for a match to determine which country finishes 3rd. In a sense it is reward for the fact they both got to the last four that they have the opportunity to play another game - to enhance their reputations, to be able to seek out the goals that individuals need to compete for the golden boot, and to solidify pride in their countries.

Uruguay and Germany have faced each other three times previously at World Cups. In 1986 they drew 1-1 in the Group stage, in 1966 Germany thrashed Uruguay 4-0 in the quarter-finals and in 1970 they played this very game - Germany won 1-0 to clinch third place. Thus Uruguay have never beaten Germany at a World Cup before. If they do tonight it will be their highest finish since they won the tournament in 1950.

There are four players in the game still with a chance of winning the Golden Boot. Suarez has three goals, Mueller, Klose and Forlan all have four - one behind both Villa and Sneijder in the race for the Golden Boot. Klose is struggling with a back injury but the chance to win the Golden Boot as well as the knowledge that he is only one goal behind Ronaldo in the list of all time world cup goalscorers will surely mean that he will start. Mueller and Suarez have both missed one game through suspension but are both back for this game. In fact no-one is suspended for this game and it is only injury that could count people out. Lugano still hasn't recovered from his knee injury and he may be the only absentee.

I am expecting an open game and potentially plenty of goals. Uruguay will take the attack to Germany and Germany will look to play with speed and incisiveness to allow their front five plenty of chances to get on the scoresheet. Perhaps with the knowledge that who wins this game is of lesser importance than any other game they've played in World Cup 2010 there will be more relaxed players showing off their skills.

Should Germany win they will have finished third at consecutive World Cups, which would be a World Cup first for any country.

Both sides have impressed at this World Cup and both sides have quality players. It certainly has the potential to be a very good game.

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