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Germany down Uruguay

Müller on target in third-place play-off

A Bavarian co-production on Saturday night paved the way for Germany to sign off from the 2010 World Cup in South Africa on a winning note. Bastian Schweinsteiger let fly from distance on 18 minutes, and Thomas Müller netted the rebound to hand his side the lead in the third-place play-off against Uruguay. The Germans ultimately beat the South Americans 3-2, Marcell Jansen (56) and Sami Khedira (82) scoring the other goals for Joachim Löw’s men. Edinson Cavani (28) and Diego Forlan (51) struck for Uruguay in front of a 36,254 crowd at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.

Butt’s maiden appearance

Four Bayern men featured against Uruguay, including Jörg Butt, the 36-year-old Bayern keeper making the first World Cup finals appearance of his career. Butt made a number of good saves in the second half to keep his side on track for victory. He completed the 90 minutes, as did Müller and Schweinsteiger. With flu-ridden captain Philipp Lahm sidelined, Schweinsteiger took over the armband on the night. Toni Kroos came on as an 81st-minute substitute.

Müller opened for the Germans after 18 minutes with an ice-cool finish, after Uruguay keeper Fernando Muslera could only parry Schweinsteiger’s swerving drive. Müller’s fifth goal of the finals means he is currently joint top scorer with Forlan, and Sunday’s finalists David Villa (Spain) and Wesley Sneijder (Netherlands). Uruguay responded creditably to the setback and racked up a 2-1 lead, but Jansen and Khedira both headed home as the young Germany team rallied in a thrilling finish.

Strength of character

“Winning was very important for all our fans in Germany, who’ve given us such tremendous support,” commented Schweinsteiger. “I’m really glad we’ve won. We were 2-1 behind but we’ve fought back, which shows how much character there is in this team. I’ll always be proud of being part of this team at this tournament. It's been really enjoyable.”

On a more unfortunate note, Miroslav Klose was unable to play with a back injury, preventing the Bayern striker from extending his outstanding strike rate at World Cup final tournaments. Klose is now level with the legendary Gerd Müller on 14 goals, with the pair both one behind all-time leading scorer Ronaldo.

Lahm too ill to party

Most of the Germany squad will now rightly celebrate an excellent overall performance at the finals, but Lahm said he would not join in. “I’m going straight to bed,” the captain declared, although he too offered a positive summary of the tournament. “We had a day less to recover, which was obvious to everyone watching. But that makes the way we turned it round even more impressive.”