Uruguay and Germany left playing for pride

PORT ELIZABETH, (Reuters) – Germany and Uruguay will  hope to salvage some pride in their third-place playoff match today after devastating semi-final defeats earlier this week.  

The two teams were largely written-off in the run-up to the  finals but can hold their heads high after some stunning  performances against top-ranked sides before their respective  exits to Spain and Netherlands in the last four.  

Germany’s high-scoring young side are determined to cap  their impressive World Cup with one last win in Port Elizabeth  where coach Joachim Loew promised his bitterly disappointed  players will be in the right frame of mind and ready to win. 
 
“The disappointment is there but now we need to build up the  team a bit,” he said after the Germans were dumped out 1-0 by a  far superior Spanish outfit in Durban on Wednesday.  

“I’m certain we will go into the match with the necessary  focus. No one needs to hang their heads low and we want to have  a good final match,” said Loew, whose team thrashed widely  fancied England and Argentina in the knockout stages. 
 
History will not favour twice World Cup  winners Uruguay in  this match after fourth place finishes the last two times they  reached the semi-finals, losing out in the playoff to Austria in  1954 and the Germans in 1970.  

Germany have finished third on three occasions and lost the  playoff only once in 1958, to France.  
   
PLAYERS AVAILABLE  
Two players central to the German and Uruguayan marches  through the knockout stages will be available again after  suspensions that weighed heavily on both teams in the semis. 
 
Attacking midfielder Thomas Mueller was sorely missed by the  Germans on Wednesday and will likely start, as will Uruguay  striker Luis Suarez, whose handball on the goal line late in the  match against Ghana helped put his team in the last four.  

Uruguay, who lost 3-2 to the Dutch after a last-gasp fight  back, could be without in-form marksman Diego Forlan today  because of a thigh problem sustained in the semi-final. 
 
Three players who could figure — Forlan, Mueller and  Miroslav Klose — are joint second in the scoring charts after  netting four times each.  

They all have a chance to win the golden boot if they can  score twice and Spain’s David Villa and Dutchman Wesley Sneijder  — joint top scorers with five — draw blanks in tomorrow’s final.  

Forlan said he was eager to play in the third-place match  and wanted himself and Uruguay could go out on a high. 

“I hope to be fit for Saturday,” he said. “I really want to  play for third place. Even that would be great for everyone.”

Around the Web

Comments