PORT ELIZABETH (South Africa), July 11 (DPA): Germany finished third at the World Cup Saturday after beating Uruguay 3-2 in the play-off in the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.
Goals by Man of the Match Thomas Mueller in the first half and Marcell Jansen and Sami Khedira in the second gave Germany the win against the South Americans, for whom Edinson Cavani and Diego Forlan scored.
"We wanted to win and play attractive football. We did all we could to achieve this goal," said Khedira. "We have a very young team, most of whom were playing in their first tournament. We can go a long way."
Both coaches made several changes for the rematch of the 1970 play-off, which Germany won 1-0.
Joachim Loew brought in five new players, including Mueller, who was suspended for the semi-final which Germany lost 1-0 against Spain.
The coach also gave a rare start to 36-year-old goalkeeper Hans-Joerg Butt, who took the place of Manuel Neuer.
"We're not going home empty handed," said Loew after the match. "The team deservedly won third place and fought very hard tonight, particularly in the second half."
"If you look at the tournament as a whole, how the team played their hearts out, it was very rewarding. They can all return to Germany with a feeling of pride."
Uruguay goalscorer Forlan was also happy with his team's performance, saying "we're now among the four best in the world. Nobody would have expected this at the start of the tournament.
"It was generally, positive, despite tonight's defeat ...Uruguay's football has a future and the team has its own identity. We would have liked to reach the final but we enjoyed all seven games we played. Now we can relax," the Atletico Madrid striker said.
Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez brought in Luis Suarez and Jorge Fucile, who were both suspended during the 3-2 semi-final defeat against the Netherlands, as well as Diego Lugano.
Germany had the ball in the back of the net after just four minutes, but Mueller was judged to have been offside.
Just two minutes later Uruguay star striker Forlan had the opportunity to open the scoring for his side when he had two free-kicks from just outside the area within the space of a minute. The Atletico Madrid striker put the second one wide though after Cacau had blocked the first with his hand.
Defender Arne Friedrich then came close for Germany with a header that crashed against the crossbar. Mueller's header from the rebound was blocked by a Uruguayan defender.
Mueller broke the deadlock in the 18th minute when he ran onto a long-range shot from stand-in captain Bastian Schweinsteiger that goalkeeper Fernando Muslera failed to hold onto.
It was Schweinsteiger who gifted the South Americans an equalizer though in the 28th minute when the Bayern Munich midfielder lost the ball to Diego Perez, who passed to Suarez. His through-ball found Cavani, who gave Butt no chance from close range.
Uruguay could have taken the lead shortly after the restart when Butt pulled off two magnificent saves within a few minutes, first blocking a shot from Cavani and then pushing a shot from Suarez away for a corner.
He could do nothing though in the 51st minute when a wonderful volley from Forlan beat him to give Uruguay the lead. It was Forlan's fifth goal for the tournament to put him on par with Mueller and Spain's David Villa and Dutchman Wesley Sneijder, who both have a chance to add to their score in Sunday's final.
Their lead lasted just five minutes though when defender Jansen scored with a header after Muslera failed to hold onto a cross from Jerome Boateng.
Germany took the lead for the second time in the match eight minutes from the end after a Mesut Oezil corner, which bounced against Lugano's foot and onto the head of Sami Khedira, who headed home.
Forlan nearly took the game to extra-time when he put his free-kick from the edge of the area against the crossbar with the last kick of the game.
The miss made sure that octopus Paul's 100 per cent record was maintained as he had predicted that Germany win.
The victory sees Germany repeat their 2006 finish and gain their fourth third place overall, while Uruguay lost a third-place play-off for the third time.