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Date: 12 December 2018

  World - Soccer


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Forlan illuminates the scene as Germany win 3rd place

[Posted 10 Jul 2010]
[By Brighton Mupangavanhu]
Diego Forlan heart-broken as Germany win 3rd place play-off

Port Elizabeth, South Africa

The Uruguayan talisman Diego Forlan's magical moments were not enough to prevent Germany from winning third place at South Africa 2010 World Cup in a tight 3rd place play-off match contested at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, in Port Elizabeth. 

The Atletico Madrid star produced a Man-of-the-match performance, but could not just inspire Uruguay to a 3rd place play-off win against an equally determined Germany. Forlan scored Uruguay's second goal with a sublime acrobatic volley which beat Germany keeper  Hans Joerg Butt, who appeared to have been caught with his pants down as he did not even attempt to go for the ball. That explains how much of a magical touch Forlan's goal was. He did the unexpected, something that has been synonymous with this talented player, who has now thrust his name forward as a serious contender for the Golden Ball award. Forlan also rattled the cross bar from a free-kick, the last kick of the match.

Only on Friday, Forlan was included in the short-list of 10 players for the Golden Ball award, a prize for the most out-standing player of the World Cup tournament. He faces serious competition from David Villa of Spain and Holland's attacking midfielder Wesley Sneidjer, who have an advantage of contesting the match that matters more than the 3rd place play-off, the world cup final on Sunday with their respective teams.

In Port Elizabeth, Germany and Uruguay played to an exciting and tightly contested 3rd place play-off match. Play swung from one end to the other during the entire 90+ 2 minutes of added time.

Germany became the first team to draw first blood when an exciting young player Thomas Mueller scored the opening goal in the 18th minute. The goal followed a brilliant 35 minute piler from German's stand-in captain  Bastian Schweinsteiger, which Uruguay keeper Fernando Muslera could only pucnh back into play. Mueller reacted quicker than the Uuruguay defence and stabbed home the opener. Mueller has now scored 5 goals at this world cup and is tied with David Villa, Wesley Sneidjer and Forlan in the contest for a Golden Boot award.

Edinson Cavani scored the equaliser for Uruguay in the 28th minute, following a superb display in the heart of midfield by Diego Perez. The uruguayan  midfielder  robbed Schweinsteiger in the center circle, fed Forlan who set-up Cavani to score Uruguay's equaliser.

Germany then hit Uruguay with an equaliser and a sucker punch later on in the game without reply from Oscar Tabarez's men. First, it was Muslera's failure to deal with Mesut Ozil's cross from the ight which allowed Marcel Jansen to head home the Germany equaliser in the 56th minute. Then the Uruguayan defence was punished by Sami Khadera's headed goal in the 82nd minute for failing to clear what looked like a goal mouth melee. Khadera placed the ball beyond the reach of a diving Muslera.

Germany have now appeared in their record 5th third place play-off match at the world cup. They also won the play-off at the Germany 2006 World Cup finals.

Uruguay were nonetheless not embarrassed or out-played by Germany at the Nelson Mandela stadium. They gave a very good account of themselves, better than they did in their controversial penalty-shoot out win against Ghana in the quarter-final. They must have won sympathisers with their hearty performances and their never-say-die spirit through out this world cup. This contest could have gone either way, as it was delicately poised from the whistle until the 92 minute.

The South Americans, the only CONCACAF team to reach semi-finals at SA 2010, almost stole an equaliser with Forlan's last kick of the match from a free-kick which skimmed the cross bar. It was so close and had it gone in, the match could have gone for extra time. The gallant uruguayans will now return home to red-carpet rolled out for them by their state President Jose Mujica who has planned a Monday meeting to recognise the efforts of this team at this world cup. Uruguay have exceeeded many people's expectations by scaling the heights they have reached at South Africa 2010.

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