PORT ELIZABETH - Germany and Uruguay are
both talking up the honour of finishing third in the World Cup
but it is the battle to be first in the goalscorers' list that
seems to be the chief attraction of Saturday's play-off.
Four players in the game are in with a fighting chance of
taking the Golden Boot with one of them, Germany's Miroslav
Klose, also needing one goal to match Brazilian Ronaldo as the
joint all-time top scorer with 15.
Klose is currently on four, as is fellow striker Thomas
Muller, back in contention after being suspended for the
semi-final defeat by Spain.
Uruguay's Diego Forlan also has four to his name with Luis
Suarez, back too after being suspended for the semis, on three.
Dutch midfielder Wesley Sneijder and Spain striker David
Villa each have five and can add to their tallies in Sunday's
Klose won the Golden Boot in 2006 with five goals having
also scored five in 2002 but his chances of topping the all-time
list have been hit by a bout of flu that has laid low several
German players as well as coach Joachim Low.
Low skipped Germany's news conference at the Nelson Mandela
Bay Stadium - sparsely attended in comparison with the heaving
throng hanging on every word before their previous two matches - with assistant Hansi Flick standing in.
"Miroslav Klose is very close to breaking the World Cup
record but he is struggling with illness at the present time,"
"There has been significant improvement but we have not got
100 percent certainty."
Flick said that, should Germany be awarded a penalty, then
the usual taker, Bastian Schweinsteiger, would probably take it
but added: "If he wants to give it, if Miri thinks he's going to
hit it home, we'll see."
Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez, while insisting the battle for
third place was the main issue, was also drawn into the
"It's possible for Klose to score but I don't want him to,"
"He's a very strong player with a lot of experience, and
when he was sent off and suspended that was when Germany had
"He is one of the great all-time players of the World Cup."
In the 1994 third/fourth play-off Bulgaria tried so hard to
feed Hristo Stoichkov chances to secure sole ownership of the
Golden Boot he shared with Oleg Salenko that they forgot about
the rest of the match and were thrashed 4-0 by Sweden.
Tabarez said his side would not fall into the same trap.
Forlan, who has been the model of an unselfish team player
throughout the tournament, went off in the closing stages of the
3-2 semi-final defeat by Netherlands but though Tabarez said he
would start Saturday's game he said there would be no focus on
"He's fine, he will play but he's not going for the Golden
Boot," he said. "It's a collective sport and he's the first to
say it's about the team.
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