PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa, July 10 (Xinhua) -- Sami Khedira's header proved Germany's prowess in the FIFA World Cup here on Saturday, enabling the European squad to claim the third place of the tournament by defeating Uruguay 3-2.
Mesut Ozil's corner from the right made Khedira to loop a header into the corner of the net in the 82nd minute. Uruguay's veteran striker Diego Forlan failed to bring an equalizer in the last second of the match.
The match turned to be a dramatic playoff with ups and downs for fans of both sides. It continued the historic tradition of the World Cup that the playoff for the third place will lead to goals galore.
The most threatening attack of Germany came in the 10th minute when defender Arne Friedrich's header rattled the crossbar and bounced back into the path of Thomas Muller, but his goalbound effort was foiled ahead of Uruguay's defense.
Muller later found the net in the 19th minute after renowned midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger hit a shot from distance and made it fall into the path of Muller amid the intervention of Uruguay's defenders.
Edison Cavani leveled a goal for Uruguay in the 28th minute when Diego Perez successfully tackled Schweinsteiger and enabled Luis Suarez to pass the ball to Cavani.
Marcell Jansen did not waste a gifted chance in the 56th minute by transferring the aggressive pass of Jerome Boateng into a successful header.
That came five minutes later when Forlan proved Uruguay deserved the spot in the top four of the tournament as he grasped the pass of his teammate from the right wing and fired the ball into the net precisely before losing balance.
It was the fifth goal of Forlan in the tournament which has witnessed the maturity of the veteran striker. That equaled the feat of German rising star Muller before the interval of the match.
Uruguay was the sole South American squad of the top four in the world football showpiece.
Long-anticipated Miroslav Klose did not show up throughout the match, although he was just two goals shy of overtaking Brazil's Ronaldo as the top goalscorer in World Cup history.
It was the second time that Germany and Uruguay have met to contest for the third place in the World Cup, following the duel of the pair in 1970 in Mexico.
Germany managed to grasp the third place 40 years ago, just as they did in the 2006 World Cup when they snatched the spot by defeating Portugal 3-1 in Stuttgart.
The Netherlands and Spain will vie for the trophy on Sunday in the Soccer City Stadium in the South African biggest city of Johannesburg.