Germany Finishes Third in World Cup With Win Over Portugal

Bastian Schweinsteiger scored two goals Saturday to lead host Germany to a 3-1 win over Portugal in the World Cup's third-place match.

Schweinsteiger also played a part in Germany's other goal when his free kick was deflected in for an own-goal by Portugal's Armando Petit.

Nuno Gomes scored for Portugal in the 88th.

The win in the consolation game was the next best thing to playing in Sunday's final — contested by France and Italy — and unexpected when the young German team behind innovative coach Juergen Klinsmann began play four weeks ago.

"It's hard to go out like this," said Portugal captain Luis Figo, who came on as a substitute in the 77th minute. "Germany was more efficient than us and deserves the win."

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The Germans savored the celebration that followed, locking arms, waving flags and smiling beneath the popping lights of camera flash and fireworks in the Gottlieb-Damlier stadium. The 52,000 sellout serenaded the players for 20 minutes.

"These are special moments, we told the players to soak them up," Klinsmann said.

Schweinsteiger's two goals were almost identical.

In the 56th, he retreated from the corner of the penalty area on the left side and worked to the middle of the field, launching a 25-meter (yard) rising shot over the outstretched left hand of goalkeeper Ricardo Pereira.

Six minutes later the midfielder, who didn't start in the 2-0 loss to Italy in the semifinals, set up the own-goal as Petit deflected his free kick behind Ricardo.

In the 78th, he again sent a rising shot sailing over Ricardo's hands. With this one he ripped off his shirt, drawing applause from the 52,000 sellout that included seven-time Formula One champion Michael Schumacher.

The Germans have won the World Cup three times, and they are always a threat. They've reached the semifinals a record 11 times, and this is the third time they've won the consolation prize.

Portugal failed to match its best World Cup, falling just short of the third-place finish in 1966. Eusebio, a member of that 1966 team, was on the bench but couldn't rally a victory.

"I feel satisfied and glad with the way things have turned out overall," Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said. "At the end, even by ending on a defeat, we're still one of the best four teams in the world."

The game marked the end of international soccer for 37-year-old Germany goalkeeper Oliver Kahn, who announced his retirement after the victory. He played the entire game, his only action in seven games with Jens Lehmann playing six.

"This was my last game for the national team today," Kahn said.

Figo, at 33, surely has played in his last World Cup, too. Figo retired once before from the international game, only to return.

"I'll talk about that at a later stage," he said.

German newspapers called this the "Little Final," but it had a big feeling in a stadium awash with Germany's black, yellow and red national colors. One handwritten poster read: "Thanks for being our guest," shorthand for the feel-good factor in this tournament.

The biggest question for Germany is the future of Klinsmann. The California resident has been noncommittal about his plans. But even the tabloid Bild, his biggest critic a month ago, has begun a write-in campaign to keep him.

Other newspapers like the Berliner Kurier carried this headline: "Klinsi, please stay." A poster hanging from the team's hotel in Stuttgart read: "Thanks guys for a wonderful four weeks."

This was the first World Cup meeting for the two European teams. Overall, they have played 15 times, and Germany won seven, Portugal won three and five were draws.

Germany made five changes from the team that lost 2-0 to Italy. Portugal made three from the side that fell to 1-0 to France.

Germany had most of the pressure early, but Portugal got the best scoring chance in the 15th when Pauleta broke in from the left, but his shot for a wide open corner was deflected by Kahn diving to the left.

Portugal scored only seven goals in the tournament, and Pauleta's poor finishing was one reason. He scored in the fourth minute of the first game, but not since.

"Germany played very well and was more efficient than we were," Scolari said. "We lacked effectiveness in front of goal. We lacked quality and precision in our shots. We had some chances, but we didn't take them like (Germany) did."

In the 20th, Germany had its best chance when Sebastian Kehl's curling shot was tipped over the crossbar by Ricardo. Five minutes later, Podolski tested Ricardo with a rising free kick.

The first half was broken by fouls and three yellow cards, keeping Japanese referee Toru Kamikawa. busy.

The two quick second-half goals opened the game.