PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa – In pouring rain on a ragged field, Germany and Uruguay staged a match entertaining enough to be for the World Cup title.
Too bad it was only for third place.
Sami Khedira scored in the 82nd minute to give Germany a 3-2 victory and third place for the second straight World Cup.
But the Germans had to survive a final-second free kick by Uruguay star striker Diego Forlan from just outside the penalty area. It ricocheted off the crossbar, and the whistle sounded.
“Obviously it’s something spectacular to be among the top four,” said Forlan. “If someone would’ve asked us at the beginning, we would’ve liked it. It’s something positive.”
Khedira’s header after the Uruguay defense failed to clear a corner kick by Mesut Oezil ended Uruguay’s hopes of beating Germany for the first time in 82 years.
“We had hoped for more, and we did everything for it,” Khedira said. “This was some kind of final and we did everything for it.
“We have a young team and set an exclamation mark here and can reach more.”
Uruguay came from behind to lead 2-1 when Forlan brilliantly volleyed in Egidio Arevalo’s 51st-minute cross for his fifth goal of the tournament.
Germany defender Marcell Jansen tied it five minutes later with a header after goalkeeper Fernando Muslera misjudged a cross.
Uruguay has beaten Germany only once in 10 matches, in 1928. West Germany beat Uruguay in the third-place match in 1970, the last time Uruguay reached the semifinals.
In its last three World Cup tournaments, Germany was runner-up in 2002 and third in 2006 at home.
Thomas Mueller opened the scoring for Germany in the 18th minute, also his fifth goal at the World Cup. Edinson Cavani equalized for Uruguay in the 28th.
Miroslav Klose’s aching back prevented him from playing for Germany and he finished the tournament with four goals and 14 for his career, one shy of Ronaldo’s World Cup record.
Defender Philipp Lahm and forward Lukas Podolski were out with the flu for Germany.