by Alexandre Guimaraes
For obvious reasons I followed the South Africa 2010 play-off between Uruguay and Costa Rica closely and I have to say the Uruguayans have made an awful lot of progress since then. There is an amazing difference between their last game last year and their performances here. They have played some highly effective, competitive and aggressive football and they are well worth their fourth place.
Once again the match for third place provided great entertainment. It is an important game and both sides did it proud, playing with their now-familiar styles and serving up an encounter that showed they both deserved to be there. It was no surprise to see them perform as well as they did as teams usually go into the game in a relaxed frame of mind. They feel they have already completed their tournaments and they just want to go out on a high note in both an individual and collective sense.
As a coach you always have to motivate your players in the best possible way, especially in short tournaments where there is no time to come to terms with a defeat. The one thing that Uruguay have not been lacking here, though, is motivation. The last team to reach the world finals, here they were battling for third place, while the Germans were looking to repeat their performance of four years ago. That explains why Germany were so determined out there, plus the fact that Joachim Low gave a game to some of the unused members of his squad.
I do not think the Final will start in quite the same way as yesterday's game. It is going to be less open because there is too much at stake. Nevertheless I am excited about it. The finalists have been the two most consistent teams in the tournament and now they have the chance to confirm everything they have shown us so far. This is, without any question, the match we have all been waiting for.