Playing without some of its best players, Germany defeated Uruguay, 3-2, today in Port Elizabeth to repeat its third-place finish from four years ago.
In one of the more anticlimatic games in all of sports, at least the race for the Golden Boot got a little more interesting. Germany's Thomas Muller and Uruguay's Diego Forlan both found the net to increase their goal totals to five. David Villa of Spain and Wesley Sneijder of the Netherlands both sit on five goals as well and will square off in the final Sunday.
Germany's Miroslav Klose, who lost out on his chance to become the World Cup's all-time leading scorer, Lukas Podolski and Philipp Lahm all sat out due to injury, but that didn't stop Die Mannschaft from coming back from a 2-1 second-half deficit. Sami Khedira, one of Germany's rising young stars at 23, scored the winning goal on a well-placed header in the 82nd minute.
Of course, Uruguay wouldn't go down without some last-second, edge-of-your-seat dramatics (even if it was just for third place). Diego Forlan -- undoubtedly one of the top 5 players in the tournament -- stood over a free kick from 20 yards out in the 92nd minute -- the last offensive play of the game. He curled it over the wall, but his shot slammed into the crossbar.
Forlan left the field in disbelief, but also left his mark on the 2010 World Cup as one of its most exciting and talented players. Four of his five goals were absolute stunners and today's was no exception.
After Muller opened the scoring 19 minutes in, Edinson Cavani scored in the 28th minute to level the game and Forlan volleyed in an amazing goal in the 51st minute to give Uruguay the lead. Germany's Marcell Jansen, however, provided the tying goal in five minutes later on a header after Uruguay keeper Fernando Muslera misjudged the ball as he stormed off his line. Khedira's game-winning header was his first international goal.
The game marked the return of Muller and Uruguay's Luis Suarez, who were both suspended for the semifinals. Muller cashed in on a rebound off Bastian Schweinsteiger's shot, and likely locked up the award for the tournament's Best Young Player.
Suarez never found the net, but he did draw plenty of ire from the crowd for his intentional hand ball that helped eliminate Ghana in the quarterfinals. Boos rained down on him -- along with the rain -- all evening. Still, he was vital in helping the small South American country to its best finish in 60 years.
Germany, which defeated Portugal in the third-place match on its home soil four years ago, is 16-1-4 in the last three World Cups, having played the maximum amount of games (21). It finished runner-up to Brazil in 2002.