Continental Divide

Three Goals Get Germany

to Third Place in World Cup

In the end, it was down to a header in the 81th minute for Germany to defeat Uruguay 3X2 and reach third place in the South Africa World Cup. But neither team gave any hint indicating that this was a no rewards game. It was fast, entertaining and, in the end, one of the best of this subdued tournament.

Either one could’ve won it but now that an European team did win, much soul searching should be expected in South America, a continent that up to two weeks ago had almost twice contenders to the title as Europe. Uruguay repeated its best performance since 1970 and most players of this young German team should be on the next time around, in Brazil.

If tomorrow’s final will produce a first time World Cup champion, today’s third-place match reaffirms an old rivalry between European and South American teams. In this 19th edition of the competition, Europe will have one championship more than South America, the first time this happens since 1954.
Two-time champion Uruguay has a shot at counterbalancing this overall advantage with a victory over three-time champion Germany. But history haven’t been too kind to third-place games, usually dominated by the teams’ deflating feeling and a lack of the spark generally present in the previous games and expected in extra amounts at the final.
Both Uruguay and Germany were, at one point or another,

Uruguay's Forlan

candidates to this title. As different reasons derailed them from such aspirations, their supporters are wondering whether they still have anything left in the tank to make one last run at the history books. Which haven’t been too kind to third placers either .

Germany's Mueller

Hopes of Germany’s Klose to be the competition’s top scorer (he only needed two goals to beat Brazilian Ronaldo’s 16 mark) were dashed due to injury. But teammate Mueller reached five, which got him side by side with Spain’s Villa and Netherlands’s Sneijder, who’re playing tomorrow. Germany does outrank Uruguay, though, with one championship over it and a few more participations in the final. Bur for the South Americans, a win would be a just reward to cap their excellent campaign. Now, telling that to its understandably disappointed supporters can’t be so easy.

Uruguay plays a fast brand of football and its two top scorers, Forlan, who’s also in competition for top scorer, and Suarez, have been instrumental in its success so far. Ironically, it was also not certain Forlan could play today. Germany, with Mueller and young Peter Lorre lookalike Oezil, were seen as legitimate heirs to the nation’s style, the epitome of European team playing, all long balls and lethal counter punching.
These two represent the dominant schools of soccer always battling each other during the World Cup, the rivalry of styles alluded at above. And they’ll certainly be at play today, even without one of the game’s marquee players.
Now, about that final. Paul, the “psychic” German octopus, put his money where his suction cup is, Spain. He was, apparently,

Paul, the Octopus

unimpressed with death threats received after correctly “predicting” Germany’s defeat. On display, was his same previous fearless behavior, when Argentines promised to eat him in a paella, given a chance, after he anticipated their own defeat to Germany. Now, a Singaporean parakeet is also coming into the fray to appoint the Netherlands as champion. And my cat, well, let’s leave it at that.
***

Final Intro

Three Goals Get Germany

to Third Place in World Cup

In the end, it was down to a header in the 81th minute for Germany to defeat Uruguay 3X2 and reach third place in the South Africa World Cup. But neither team gave any hint indicating that this was a no rewards game. It was fast, entertaining and, in the end, one of the best of this subdued tournament.

Either one could’ve won it but now that an European team did win, much soul searching should expected in South America, a continent that up to two weeks ago had almost twice contenders to the title as Europe. Uruguay repeated its best performance since 1970 and most players of this young German team should be on the next time around, in Brazil.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s