Germany, Portugal vie for third place

Updated: 25 February 2007 10:35 IST

It's seen as a consolation prize for the also-rans, but that won't stop Portugal and hosts Germany from going all out in their 3rd-4th place playoff.

Germany, Portugal vie for third place

Berlin:

It's seen as a consolation prize for the also-rans, but that won't stop Portugal and hosts Germany from going all out in their 3rd-4th place playoff. Managers of both the teams have won accolades for their team's performance and are hoping for a keen contest. Luiz Felipe Scolari has said he wants to continue coaching Portugal whereas Juergen Klinsmann has denied reports of a move to the US.He says he wants his team and all German fans to sit back and enjoy the occasion.The Portuguese team has delivered its best performance since 1966. This has won the hearts of not just their fans, but of millions of soccer lovers all over the world."Let's see if we play another match. Between two teams which respect each other, coaches and athletes who also respect each other. Let's see if we can finish in third place, which would be marvelous. So I just want to say this to all of you, the whole world knows that we are proud of our athletes," said Scolari."Big Phil is a national hero, even with a third or fourth place, there's no doubt," said a Portuguese fan.No team that has finished third in the World Cup finals has qualified for the following European Championships since 1980.Past standings In head-to-head encounters, the two teams have faced each other 14 times, with Germany having won six times and Portugal thrice.In the World Cup finals, it is almost even, with both having won two matches each out of seven.This is the fourth time Germany is playing for the 3rd-4th place playoff. They've finished third twice before, in 1934 and 1970.Interestingly, since 1980, no team that has finished third in the World Cup has gone on to qualify for the next European Championships."I think we have just about digested the shock, which Italy gave us in the 118th minute. Now we just want to be able to give the public a good finish to the World Cup by getting a third place," said Klinsmann.Ballack injuredStriker Miroslav Klose is the highest goal scorer of the tournament so far and will look to maintain the tradition of the golden boot winner scoring at least six goals. Captain Michael Ballack, meanwhile, is out with an inflamed left knee. Germany are also making two changes, with Mertesacker and Arne Friedrich replaced by Robert Huth and Marcell Jansen. Oliver Kahn also returns for his World Cup farewell game. This will be his 86th international for Germany.



Topics : Football Germany
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