Uruguay 2-3 Germany

Posted: July 10, 2010 in World Cup
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

You see? Fun. A highly-enjoyable caper which will probably put the final to shame tomorrow, given the comparative goal records of the two pairs of teams. Holland (the side that don’t concede) v Spain (the side that don’t concede, and very rarely score) compared to Uruguay (the side with Diego Forlan’s rippling muscular awesomeness) v Germany (goal after goal after goal…except against Spainzzzzzzzzzzzzzz).

This was great, to the extent where you didn’t want it to end, which isn’t the first time I’ve said that about Uruguay this tournament. They really have been good to watch, Arevalo and Perez all snarling bite in midfield, Fucile and the surprisingly-effeminate Caceres playing superbly adventurous full-back roles, Muslera prone to a clanger between the sticks along with the odd awesome save, and then I haven’t even mentioned Forlan and Suarez. Apart from the latter two, I’d never heard of the rest of the names above and yet they’re now imprinted in my consciousness, so that’s saying something.

I was actually a bit surprised with the amount of abuse Suarez got. I guess Ajax won’t be arranging any tours to Africa anytime soon. He didn’t let it get to him though, playing with the same verve as he has done all along and linking up with Forlan and Cavani to great effect. He should have had at least one goal, missing a great chance when played in on the counter.

My opinion of Suarez and “that incident” is as follows: I think anyone bleating about it needs to move on. What was he supposed to do, let the goal go in? He knew exactly what he was doing when he punched that ball off the line, he knew that he would miss out on a World Cup semi-final, perhaps his one shot at that in his entire career. So he gambled that on the slimmest possibility that Gyan might not score his penalty. He didn’t ask Gyan to miss. Sure, he looked like a bit of a wanker celebrating and then banging on about “the new Hand Of God”. But it’s not cheating. It would have been cheating if he’d got away with it. He was punished. Ghana should still have won the game. The comparisons with Maradona were inaccurate, apart from both acts brought joy to the nation that perpetrated them.

Germany took an early lead when Schweinsteiger’s swerver was spilled by Muslera, and Thomas Muller became the third man to hit 5 goals at this World Cup. He really does look a prospect, Ozil might have the purists drooling but I’ve spouted about Muller’s simple effectiveness on here before. Uruguay got an equaliser thanks to a really neat finish from Cavani, who spent much of the semi-final fucking about with the ball instead of shooting.  Here he shot calmly across Butt and into the corner.

Then came Diego Time. A cross from the right, and Forlan was there to steer a bouncing volley into the back of the net from the edge of the area, becoming the fourth chap to hit 5 in the process. This was his closest goal of the tournament by about 10 yards, apart from the penalty v South Africa. He really is a great, great striker. And yes, I love him. Diego, if you’re reading, you can get in touch by commenting below, and we can take it from there.

Unfortunately for Uruguay, Muslera then went into meltdown – first diving under a cross from the right wing and allowing Jansen to score “with his left earhole” as Craig Burley quite beautifully described it on ITV. Then Ozil’s corner was allowed to bounce around the six-yard box like a pinball before Sami Khedira showed impressive coolness to loft a header into the top corner. 3-2, and that was that. Or was it? With seconds remaining, Suarez won a freekick on the edge of the German box and Forlan stepped up. If anyone could do it, Diego could. He struck the ball high, hard and true – and straight against the crossbar. The final whistle had blown before the ball landed on the turf. Forlan stood there with a rueful smile that rather nicely summed up the enjoyment that most people must have taken from this dark horse during World Cup 2010.

So no record for Miroslav Klose then. Maybe he’ll be back in Brazil, but don’t count on it. However, he goes down as one of the great World Cup strikers, in every sense of the phrase given that his international goalscoring is more prolific than at club level. Perhaps the greatest example of a “big game player”.

Final match tomorrow. Four players on 5 goals; Sneijder, Villa, Forlan, Muller. Interesting that all each of those are from the four semi-finalists. I suppose you could say that’s only natural given that they get to play 2 games more than every other team, but they’re notable for their consistency rather than one man hitting a hat-trick and then bagging a couple of others (Higuain, for example) – only Muller and Forlan have scored more than once in any game. A four-way tie would be cool.

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