Friday, July 07, 2006

Germany vs. Portugal - The Battle for Third

Germany vs. Portugal
3pm ET - ESPN

Every World Cup people wonder about the value of the third place match. Why do we want to see losers play one another. Then the game is played and is often more entertaining then the final (2002 was the perfect example. Turkey-South Korea was a fantastic match while Brazil-Germany was a bit of a bore). The atmosphere is like a friendly with bragging rights. This allows teams to relax a little, yet they still want to win. I think that's what we will see tomorrow.

The big story will be Oliver Khan protecting the net for his last time in a World Cup and maybe ever for Germany. Khan has been very supportive of Lehmann during the Cup, yet he is still not happy with coach Jurgen Klinsmann's decision to drop him as the number one. This should allow Kahn plenty of incentive to stop everything Portugal sends his way.

However, Cristiano Ronaldo also has something to prove. He has quickly become England's most hated player. If he doesn't have a fantastic final game, there is really no way that he will return to the EPL next season (even if the game is good, the odds are against it). Ronaldo deserves some of the negative press that has come his way, but not for what happened against England. His diving against France was a sad show for a player with his talent.

So what will happen? Germany is going to come out in full attack mode. Look for Podolski and Klose to be caught offside more then a few times. With Frings back in the lineup, their midfield should have plenty of control.

Portugal wants this win really bad as they have not made it this far since 1966 when they took third. Figo will play his last international match with this one and should be on fire.

This match should see 3 or more goals, and in the end, Germany will win. My prediction, Germany 3-2 Portugal.



Anonymous Goncalo said...

Good article!
I also think Germany will win - they were one of the two best teams of the WC, alongside Italy.
As a portuguese, I hope my national team gets other result, of course. Let's hope Nuno Gomes'll finally replace the depressed Pauleta.

9:31 AM  
Blogger rasdorfw said...

I think the 3rd place game is really going to be an open run. Both teams aren't going to try and play as hard defensively, which should make very a dazzling show. I think Germany has the advantage because it is in their country and they have just come off a heartbreaking loss to the Italians. It will definitely be a game to see. Hopefully, high scoring and lots of attacking. Usually, the third place game is outstanding and a great prelude to the Final.

11:34 AM  

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