Uruguay faces Germany with pride at stake

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- It's one of the hardest games in soccer to prepare for.

Days after the bitter disappointment of missing out on the World Cup final, players from Uruguay and Germany have to lift themselves one final time in today's third-place match at Port Elizabeth's Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

Fans don't generally remember the team that finishes third at a World Cup, but it gives the Uruguayans and Germans a chance to leave South Africa with a victory and something to build on.

Uruguay brought back memories of previous glory in 1930 and 1950 with its run. Yet, the Celeste left Cape Town devastated after the 3-2 semifinal loss to the Netherlands, according to striker Diego Forlan. Pride with Uruguay's best World Cup showing in 40 years -- the country last made the semifinals in 1970 -- is mixed with feelings of what might have been.

"We've had a good tournament, and it's been a fine World Cup for us," midfielder Egidio Arevalo said, "but we're still gutted."

Germany's 1-0 loss to Spain was possibly more painful considering its performances leading up to the game. The Germans led the tournament with 13 goals and routed old rivals England and Argentina on their way to the semifinals.

But they have now lost in the semifinals in successive World Cups, as well as the final in 2002 and the final of the 2008 European Championship.

"It's a shame, we're sad, and we're all disappointed," coach Joachim Loew said. "It's not worked out the way we wanted it."