Gio Wants To Go Out In Style

I only came to know at the start of the World Cup that veteran left back Giovanni Van Bronckhorst was the player chosen to captain the Netherlands side. Not only is Gio a player representing my favourite nation in football but he also once played for my favourite club side – Arsenal FC. At 35 years of age, Gio is winding down his professional playing career – on 12 May 2010, he announced that he will end his playing career after the World Cup in South Africa.

The Dutch player with Indonesian heritage started his career with RKC Waalwijk before moving to his hometown club Feynoord Rotterdam for 4 years. Post that he moved for a highly successful spell at Glasgow Rangers and then to an injury plagued time at Arsenal (he however won the League and two FA Cups with them) and then left to join Barcelona, winning two La Liga titles and the Champions League before moving back home to Feynoord and winning a second Dutch Cup with them.

Funnily enough for a player who scores ever so rarely his 6th goal for the Dutch national side came in the semi-finals of this tournament against Uruguay and what a cracker it was! Now he wants a fairy-tale ending, bowing out of his playing career by captaining his national side to a World Cup final win in his very last match. He’ll get the opportunity in a few short hours from now as his Dutch teammates and he face off against the mighty talented Spanish team. Will Gio get to fulfill a dream for most players? Let’s find out.

Germany Beats Uruguay For 3rd Place

In an entertaining match good enough for the final, Germany edged out Uruguay 3-2 and secured the 3rd place for themselves. Sami Khedira scored in the 82nd minute to give Germany a 3-2 victory and third place for the second straight World Cup. But the Germans had to survive a final-second free kick by Uruguay star striker Diego Forlan from just outside the penalty area. It ricocheted off the crossbar, and the whistle sounded. Rain-soaked players shook hands and awaited a medals ceremony that was not nearly what they wanted. The Netherlands and Spain will play for the championship on Sunday in Johannesburg. Germany coach Joachim Loew, his voice still hoarse from the flu, said his team was going home “with a very good feeling.”

Khedira’s header after the Uruguay defence failed to clear a corner kick by Mesut Oezil ended Uruguay’s hopes of beating Germany for the first time in 82 years. Uruguay came from behind to lead 2-1 when Forlan brilliantly volleyed in Egidio Arevalo’s 51st-minute cross for his fifth goal of the tournament. Germany defender Marcell Jansen tied it five minutes later with a header after goalkeeper Fernando Muslera misjudged a cross. In the dying moments, on a rain soaked pitch, Uruguay had one more opportunity. But Forlan, who has been especially dangerous on free kicks, hit the bar.

Uruguay has beaten Germany only once in 10 matches, in 1928. Germany beat Uruguay in the third-place match in 1970, the last time Uruguay reached the semifinals.  In its last three World Cup tournaments, Germany was runner-up in 2002 and third in 2006 at home. Thomas Mueller opened the scoring for Germany in the 18th minute, also his fifth goal at the World Cup. Edinson Cavani equalized for Uruguay in the 28th when he slid a shot past goalkeeper Hans Joerg Butt. Miroslav Klose’s aching back prevented him from playing for Germany and he finished the tournament with four goals and 14 for his career. He is one goal shy of Brazilian forward Ronaldo’s World Cup record and, at 32, doesn’t expect to play in 2014 in Brazil. Loew was forced to make five changes to his team. Defender Philipp Lahm and forward Lukas Podolski were out with the flu. Backup striker Mario Gomez also has the flu.