World Cup: Schweinsteiger's almost-hat trick gets Germany third place

, posted: 9-Jul-2006 09:34

It was Germany all the way in Stuttgart, as the host nation took third place in the World Cup with a 3-1 victory over Portugal. Bastian Schweinsteiger scored twice, and also fired a free-kick that struck Portugal's Petit and went past a hapless Ricardo in the goal.

Coach Klinsmann let Oliver Kahn do the goal keeping for Germany in this game; Kahn didn't disappoint, even towards the end when Portugal finally woke up and ladled on the pressure. The game looked like a 3-0 shutout until a long cross from Figo was headed in by Gomes for a Portuguese consolidation goal that Kahn could do nothing about.

Until the end however, it wasn't a very interesting game. Neither side played at full capability - clearly, the third prize was neither here nor there for the teams. Referee Toro Kamikawa managed some pretty odd decisions too, handing out yellow cards in the first half for what looked like legit tackles and a free-kick against close for a handball which actually struck the German player in the chest instead.

An injured Ballack sat out the game, and Schweinsteiger, Klose, Podolski were all substituted in the second half. Schweinsteiger left the pitch with a huge grin on his face, having just scored the third goal of the game.

Scolari brought on Figo too late to make a difference for Portugal, preferring instead to let an unconvincing Pauleta play until the 76th minute. While he set up Gomes for the goal, there was nothing Figo could do to rescue Portugal. Good on the Portuguese for not giving up though: they were chasing an impossible two goals right to the end.

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