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Germany third again after rainy thriller

In the final moments a shot by Uruguay’s Diego Forlan, left, hits the crossbar, sealing Germany’s victory in the third-place game.

Associated Press

In the final moments a shot by Uruguay’s Diego Forlan, left, hits the crossbar, sealing Germany’s victory in the third-place game.

PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa — In pouring rain on a ragged field, Germany and Uruguay staged a match entertaining enough to be a 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. The Germans survived a final-second free kick by Uruguay star striker Diego Forlan from just outside the penalty area. It ricocheted off the crossbar, just before the whistle sounded.

Rain-soaked players shook hands and awaited a medal ceremony that was not what they wanted. The Netherlands and Spain will play for the championship today in Johannesburg.

Germany coach Joachim Loew, his voice still hoarse from the flu, said his team was going home "with a very good feeling."

"We achieved more than we perhaps expected," Loew said.

Khedira's header after the 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 volleyed in Egidio Arevalo's 51st-minute cross for his fifth goal of the tournament. That number ties three others for the lead, including Germany's Thomas Mueller, who opened the scoring in the 18th minute.

German defender Marcell Jansen tied it five minutes later on a header after goalkeeper Fernando Muslera misjudged a cross.

"Obviously it's something spectacular to be among the top four," Forlan said. "If someone would've asked us at the beginning, we would've liked it. It's something positive."

Miroslav Klose's aching back prevented him from playing for Germany, leaving him with 14 career World Cup goals, one shy of Brazilian forward Ronaldo's record. At 32, Klose doesn't expect to play in 2014 in Brazil.

RATINGS: After 62 of 64 games (not including Saturday), ESPN and ABC averaged a 1.9 U.S. rating, up 36 percent from the same point in 2006 for percentage of all TVs. The average household audience is up 41 percent from 1.575 million to 2.227 million and the viewer audience is up 45 percent to nearly 3 million. Those numbers are on pace to make this easily the most-watched World Cup in America; numbers through the quarterfinals were up 32 percent from 1994, when the United States was host.

PLATINI UPDATE: UEFA president Michel Platini was released from a Johannesburg hospital and plans to attend today's final. The former France great, 55, stayed in the hospital overnight after collapsing Friday in a restaurant.

Germany third again after rainy thriller 07/10/10 [Last modified: Saturday, July 10, 2010 9:43pm]
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