A Last-second Crossbar Hit Between Bronze for Les Celeste or Die Mannschafte?

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Who knows what would have happened if Diego Forlan's last-breath effort had dived an inch, half a nano-second earlier?

Where would we have ended up? Extra time, yes, but if it had stunned the German’s enough and been enough to either finish it or take it to penalties is something we'll never know. Germany won 3-2 and it will only be one of many speculations from this World Cup. "If only…" The Bronze match lived up to its historic reputation of plenty of goals though, what is rare in the final seemed to be standard in the third place game. Attack. Go for victory rather than avoid a loss.

Thomas Muller opened up the game's scoring with his fifth goal of the tournament and put the Germans up front. Uruguay with Cavani equalized on a lovely counterattack before Forlan decided that he wanted to level up with Muller and scored his fifth goal too with an absolutely stunning scissor-half-volley-kick that left stand-in keeper for the day, Hans Jorg Butt frozen to the ground. Many more goal attempts followed before an unusual combination occurred. Right back Jerome Boateng hit a cross to the other side where left back Marcel Jansen met it with a header and tied the score.

Then, just as the game looked to be going into another overtime conclusion, Khedira got his very well deserved goal for the tournament with a header. Les Celeste tried and pushed and pushed and just as the three minutes added time ticked out, they got the chance they needed and deserved: a free-kick just outside the penalty box. There wasn’t even any doubt who was to step up and take it. Forlan’s been struggling with a leg injury that forced him to sub in the semifinal against Holland, and also made him score in that game with his left foot. But this time he would disregard all presumable pain. As he hit the crossbar with an absolute firecracker, some people spoke of a twist of fate: what helped Uruguay reach the semifinal is the exact same thing that denied them the bronze.

"We wanted to reach the final, it wasn't possible, but we did our best in every game. Now it's time for a rest," said Forlan. Maybe not, but finishing top four is spectacular and you showed the world that Uruguayan football is to be reckoned with again.

"At the beginning we never thought we'd taste a moment like this. We wanted to finish third, but we'll remember the positives."

We will too, Forlan. Thank you for the show, Uruguay.

Football