Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sami Khedira Heads Die Mannschaft To 3rd Place World Cup Finish

Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez said he was determined to prove Paul the octopus wrong by beating Germany in the third-place play-off on Saturday. Unfortunately Oracle Paul was proven correct once more when Die Mannschaft won the most entertaining match in the World Cup so far. Sami Khedira pounce on some haphazard La Celeste defending to guide a header past Muslera in the 82nd minute.

It was another five goal thriller which Uruguay unfortunately ended up on the losing end. There are no complaints though as Forlan and team were beaten by another great Germany performance. Jogi Loew braved his own flu condition to take his place on the team bench and he witnessed another masterful display from Schweinsteiger. Basti capped a great World Cup outing by captaining Germany in Lahm's absence.

Two mistakes from Muslera gifted Germany goals duly despatched by Mueller and Jansen. Diego Forlan's long range shooting has been a highlight of this World Cup tournament and he did not disappoint with another contender for goal of the tournament. Finally Khedira popped up with the winning header for the fully deserving German side. 

Thomas Mueller shot himself into the five-goal club and he is now in the lead (due to more assists) for the Golden Boot award. David Villa and Wes Sneijder will have added pressure to score in the final if they want to take the top scorer award as well. His goalscoring presence in this match made me wondered how much he was missed against Spain. The 20-year old German will be a worthy winner of the Golden Boot in my opinion.

I totally agree with Joachim Loew after the match, who touched upon regaining that winning confidence after that loss to Spain.
The last match at a tournament is always important, because it shapes the feelings you take home with you. After tonight, we’re not going home empty-handed. My team deserved to win, based on the second half alone. We played well and fought hard. Taking the tournament as a whole, my team has been magnificent. Just looking at the way they’ve put a bitter defeat to Spain behind them, their performance as a whole at the finals, and the number of goals they’ve scored, you have to be delighted. We can go home now feeling justifiably proud.
This German team will be even stronger as the whole group matures in the next 2-4 years. Question is, will Loew stay to finally win something with the team he built? Does his absence from the picture above any indication of his intent?

Diego Forlan who has had a sterling tournament and have scored four long range shots with Jabulani, said,
"We’ve got nothing to complain about. Finishing in the top four at the World Cup is incredible, and if you’d given us that result at the start of the tournament, we’d have definitely taken it. We came really close to third place today. We were a goal ahead and playing very nicely but unfortunately for us we couldn’t quite make it. We made a couple of mistakes and the game slipped through our grasp. Even so we’ve enjoyed this experience a lot. We’ve played seven games and we almost reached the Final. All in all it’s been unforgettable."
Uruguay have punched above their weight that's for sure. They were helped by the unexpected absence of England, Brazil and Italy. Oh and not forgetting that horrific Gyan penalty miss in the epic quarterfinal.

Only the final between Spain and Netherlands to go now, and it has all the ingredients to be a memorable match. The Flat Back Four got a mention in Univision Futbol article titled "Experts back Spain to win World Cup" where I gave my opinion on who will finally win the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Go have a read while waiting for the match to start, it's brilliant!

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