I'm going to be doing previews of every World Cup game from here on in. Next up, the third-place match. Here's Uruguay - Germany, which will be televised at 11:30 a.m. Pacific (2:30 a.m. Eastern) on CBC tomorrow.
Record:(W-L-D, regulation time) 3-1-2
Top scorer: Diego Forlan, four goals
Top scorers: Thomas Mueller and Miroslav Klose, four goals each
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Normally, the third-place game in a major soccer tournament is more of a distraction than anything else. Many teams knocked out in the semifinals no longer care and turn in a mediocre effort in the consolation game. I don't think that's going to be the case tomorrow, though. First off, Germany and Uruguay both weren't expected to get this far by many, so it's not like they're horribly crushed by coming up short in the semis. They also both favour attacking football, more so than either the Dutch or the Spanish, so it's quite possible that tomorrow's game could provide a more offensively-minded matchup than Sunday's final.
Additionally, third place means something to both of these sides. For Uruguay, it would represent additional recognition of their amazing run at this tournament. For Germany, it's another notch in their successful decade, and it's a great starting point for their young team. There are personal triumphs at stake, too; Diego Forlan, Miroslav Klose and Thomas Mueller are all in contention for the Golden Boot as the tournament's top scorer. All have four goals, one behind Spain's David Villa and the Netherlands' Wesley Sneijder. Mueller and Luis Suarez are both returning off suspension, so they'll be eager to put in a good showing. Moreover, Klose has 14 World Cup goals for his career, one goal back of Ronaldo's mark of 15. This may be his last World Cup hurrah, and it represents a great chance for him to make history.
Even beyond all those factors, though, you get the sense that these are two sides that play for the thrill of the game. They've put on some great shows so far in this tournament, and I'm expecting another one tomorrow. It should be a pretty even match as well, as both sides are loaded with attacking options. The German defence is a bit stronger, and I think that will be enough to give them the victory in the end, but it should be a tremendous match.
Prediction: Germany 3, Uruguay 2