Germany beat Uruguay 3-2, finish third

Germany beat Uruguay 3-2, finish third

Germany beat Uruguay 3-2, finish third

Germany's Sami Khedira, right, celebrates with teammate Per Mertesacker after scoring his side's third goal during the World Cup third-place soccer match between Germany and Uruguay at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth, South Africa on Saturday. AP Sami Khedira headed home the match-winner in the 82nd minute off a corner kick after team-mates Thomas Mueller (19th) and Marcell Jansen (56th) had cancelled out strikes from Edinson Cavani (28th) and Diego Forlan (51st) for Uruguay at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

With the hard-fought victory, three-time champions Germany finished inside top three of the World Cup on 11 occasions in their 17 appearances. They had also finished third four years ago at home.

For Uruguay, who were the winners in 1930 and 1950, they ended as fourth-place side for the third time in World Cup after 1954 and 1970.

The high-voltage and action-packed match ended in a fitting climax with Forlan's free-kick in the last few seconds of the three-minute injury time crashed into the German crossbar after the keeper was beaten.

With a goal each in the match today, Uruguay striker Forlan and German midfielder Mueller joined Dutch Wesley Sneijder and Spaniard David Villa as tournament joint top-scorers with five goals each.

Either Sneijder or Villa though have the chance to go ahead of Forlan and Mueller in tomorrow's grand finale in Johannesburg and win the Golden Boot.

Not much at stake after their semifinal losses, both the teams played an open football with fast attacks and counter-attacks and the high scoring match saw the lead changing hands before Germany ran away winners.

Germany, who impressed with their fast-paced attacking football till their 0-1 semifinal loss to Spain, left out striker Miroslav Klose, Lukas Podolski and captain Philipp Lahm. Klose, who was one goal short of Brazillian Ronaldo's World Cup record of 15 goals, had a back ache while Podolski and Lahm could not fully recover from flu.

Mueller, who missed his side's 0-1 semifinal loss to Spain due to suspension, struck in the 19th minute by tapping in the rebound off the keeper who failed to hold on a Bastian Schweinsteiger screaming 30-metre right-footer.

Uruguay, who were strengthened by the return of captain and centre-back Diego Lugano, left-back Diego Fucile and striker Luis Suarez, took just seven minutes to equalise through Cavani.

Midfielder Diego Perez won the ball from Swiensteiger, who captained Germany in the absence of Lahm, to release it for Suarez who then set Cavani free to send the Jabulani past the advancing keeper Joerg Butt, who kept the German goal instead of regular Manuel Neuer.

Four minutes from the interval, Suarez shot from an angle inside the German box in a one-on-one situation with the keeper went wide.

The second half began on a frantic pace and four minutes into it, Uruguay threatened the German goal but 36-year-old keeper Joerg Butt produced a fine save as he raced off his line to block Cavani and then got up like lightning to produce a fine reflex save from

Suarez's follow-up.
Forlan produced one of his trademark goals in the 51st minute, a right-footed volley from the central edge of the box off a cross from the right by Egidio Arevalo and the German keeper could only stand a mute spectator. Uruguay were 2-1 up then and looked set for their best World Cup finish in 40 years before Germany fought back.

Jochim Loew's side restored parity within five minutes with Jansen heading into the empty net after the Uruguayan keeper Fernando Muslera, who had a torrid time under the bar today, failed to clear a Jerome Boateng high cross from the right.

Eight minutes from time, Germany sealed the match with Khedira making a looping header into the Uruguay net, connecting a corner kick by Mesut Oezil after the ball had bounced off Diego Lugano.

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