You can say he always picks the flag with more red in it; you can say he always picks the container on the right; none of these claims are true. What is a fact is whatever Paul the Octopus says, and Paul predicted a German victory in the third place game.
As Diego Forlan's free kick in the final seconds of the match caromed off of the crossbar, just an inch too high to tie the match and put the Uruguayan star in the lead for the Golden Shoe with six goals, you couldn't help but wonder: "Can Paul actually will his predictions to reality?"
The third place game saw the two sides take rather different approaches, with Uruguay playing their best 11, including red card hero Luis Suarez, in an attempt win their first third place game in three chances. Germany, on the other hand, rested captain Phil Lahm and even star striker Miroslav Klose. Klose, with 14 career goals, would have had a chance to tie or break Ronaldo's record of 15 World Cup goals, but German coach Joakim Loew opted to field a lineup of youngsters, looking forward to the 2014 competition. Klose will be 36, well past his prime, if he is to make the German squad for the event in Brazil.
Thomas Muller opened the scoring in the 19th minute, putting in a rebound after Bastian Schweinstager shot a rocket from distance that fooled Uruguyan keeper Fernando Muslera, deflecting off of his knee.
Uruguay rallied back, with Luis Suarez setting up Edinson Cavani with a perfect through ball off of a Bastian Schweinstager turnover in the 28th minute. Cavani made the most of the opportunity, masterfully placing the ball inside the far post.
Uruguay even took the lead in the 51st minute off of a (guess who?) Diego Forlan scissors kick, struck perfectly into the ground so as to bounce into the top corner of the net. German keeper Hans-Jorg Butt, in for Manuel Neuer, never had a chance.
German midfielder Marcel Janssen leveled the score just five minutes later, heading in a cross that Muslera failed to clear from the penalty area.
With just eight minutes left in regular time, Mesut Ozil sent a corner kick into the box that bounced around like a pinball until Sami Khedira got his head on the ball for what proved to be the game winner.
Uruguay had many near misses, including Forlan's final strike, but they have failed to beat a European foe in the World Cup in their past 15 tries. As in 2006, Germany will go home in third place, and with a team of talented players in their young 20s, they have to be considered among the favorites both for the 2012 EuroCup and the 2014 World Cup.
Paul will put his perfect record on the line tomorrow against the Netherlands.
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