Uruguay v Germany: Golden Boots, Golden Boys Compete To Be Losers

CAPE TOWN SOUTH AFRICA - Diego Forlan positively prances across the pitch after netting a goal. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)


Does any other sport have a loser final? Do other teams compete for third place? Or is today's match between Uruguay and Germany unique to soccer?

This game decides nothing but the right to claim the title of "third place finisher, World Cup 2010". Yet considering the two semi-final matches, I can't fathom how anyone wouldn't want to watch the loser final. La Celeste played like madmen against Netherlands--well, in the last few minutes, at least, when they very nearly found an equalizer after scoring their second in the 92nd minute. Luis Suarez, who will receive a sprawling mansion and twenty virgins upon his return to Uruguay, will be back for this game, and assuming Diego Forlan has recovered from his thigh injury, these two could be causing havoc for the Germans. While I applaud Suarez for his handball that allowed Uruguay a chance at 3rd place, I would've loved for them to face Holland with him available. The Dutch defense is vulnerable, and Suarez would've managed to get behind the back line in ways that Maxi Pereira was unable to do until the very end of the match.

Germany v Spain, on the other hand, provided quiet drama throughout the match. Anyone who defines exciting soccer as high-scoring, or can only appreciate fast-paced matches with thrilling breakaways, probably fell asleep for this match, particularly since Martin Tyler had the microphone at ESPN. Until this point, Germany had capitalized on other teams' mistakes, pouncing on the ball and running through disorganized defenses. But when Spain wouldn't give up the ball--or even when they did, they were able to close back down rather than fall apart--the lauded German offense was unable to find a goal. The control of Spain combined with consistent, rapid threats from Germany made for a very sexy match (though it would've been sexier had Fernando Torres not been denied a clear goal-scoring opportunity when Pedro refused to pass him the ball).

And now we come to the loser final, where in addition to the third place trophy, there's another award possibly up for grabs: The Golden Boot. David Villa and Wesley Sneijder lead the competition for most goals scored, each with five, but Thomas Mueller and Miroslav Klose each have four. Diego Forlan also has four, while Luis Suarez has scored three. Could the Golden Boot fit one of these loser-final candidates?

As much as I'd love to see the golden-locked Forlan outfitted with golden boots, I'm going to have to disagree with those predicting many goals in this match. While the teams really have nothing to play for except pride and pretty shoes, these are two squads with well-constructed defenses. I can't imagine that either team will run rampant through the solid back lines--even if that's what most fans are hoping to see today.

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