Third place still a motivation

But German and Uruguayan players insist they have reason to be motivated for Saturday’s match at Port Elizabeth’s Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

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After the bitter disappointment of falling one step shy of the final, it is a chance to go home on a winning note.

There are also personal goals at stake. For Miroslav Klose, Germany’s 32-year-old striker, the game is an opportunity to match Ronaldo’s all-time World Cup scoring record of 15 goals.

Klose is battling a minor back injury, but chances are, with this likely being the final World Cup match of his career, he will do whatever it takes to get on the field.

Klose is also in contention for this tournament’s Golden Boot scoring title. With four goals, he is one short of Spain’s David Villa and Netherlands’ Wesley Sneijder. Klose’s teammate, Thomas Mueller, is also tied in second place with four goals, as is Diego Forlan of Uruguay.

Mueller will be back in the German lineup after missing the semifinal due to suspension from two yellow cards.

Uruguay also gets an important player back from suspension – Luis Suarez, who missed the semifinal after using his hands to keep his team alive against Ghana in the previous match.

“Now what’s left is to play to the death for third place,” Suarez said.

“For this squad, the World Cup is not over yet.”

On the surface, it would seem Uruguay has more to play for than Germany. Uruguay was the Little Team That Could, a team from a nation of 3.5 million people that outlasted South American heavyweights Brazil and Argentina to make the final four.

It was their best performance in 40 years, and a third-place finish truly means something to them.

Germany, on the other hand, has won three World Cups and finished third four years ago, so this game would seem more anticlimactic for its players.

The German camp has also been hit with a flu bug, which could affect the lineup. Coach Joachim Loew has it the worst, but Phillip Lahn and Lukas Podolski are also under the weather.

Assistant coach Hansi Flick filled in at Loew’s press conference Friday and handled the training session. Loew is expected back on the bench for the match.

“Last night, some flu virus hit us hard, maybe to do with the flights, air conditioning and maybe the disappointment (of losing to Spain),” said team manager Oliver Bierhoff, who hinted Lahm may not start.

Bierhoff suggested some younger players may get a chance to play, but said the team is taking the game seriously.”

For us, this World Cup is anything but over, we will be 100 per cent focused and dedicated,” he said.

“We want to play with the same fresh, free-flowing football we have shown so far here. Sometimes it is good to field unspoiled players, as we did in 2006.”

Flick added: “Third place also means something. It would be important to win the ‘small final.”‘

Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez is also making the game sound important. “

At the moment, Germany and Uruguay have both secured fourth place by reaching the semifinal, but the challenge for Uruguay is to finish third in the World Cup. I know Germany and they will make it very difficult for us, so we must fight hard to win.”

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