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Saturday World Cup kickaround

*While Planet Futbol's attention is acutely focused on Johannesburg ahead of Sunday's final, there is a match 660 miles away today in Port Elizabeth: Germany vs. Uruguay for third place (2:30 p.m. ET, ABC, Univision, ESPN Deportes) -- the second consecutive tournament in which the Germans have taken part in the prelim.

Interest in these consolations is low to begin with, and by staging them far from the final, FIFA has further diminished the attraction. The match should have been held near the championship venue. In this case, Ellis Park would have been perfect. In 1994, the Bulgaria-Sweden third-placer was held on the same field as the final a day earlier (not advised, given the wear and tear on a surface over the course of the tournament). In 1998, while title preparations were being made at Stade de France in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis, Netherlands and Croatia played at Parc des Princes in the city.

Between illness and injury, the Germans would probably prefer to skip this and go home. However, if he plays, Miroslav Klose would have the chance to equal or surpass Ronaldo's scoring record. And from a purely entertainment standpoint, the third-place match is worth watching: The previous eight have yielded an average of 4.1 goals. In '94, with Bulgaria not the least bit interested, Sweden scored four times in the first half and goofy goalkeeper Thomas Ravelli did cartwheels in the penalty area while the ball was upfield.

*French legend Michel Platini, president of UEFA, fainted at a Johannesburg restaurant Friday evening after suffering from flu symptoms in recent days. He was taken to a hospital for tests. No signs of any heart-related problems were detected, FIFA said. Platini, 55, was to remain under care as a precautionary measure.

*Read my story about the possibility of penalty kicks in the final. Columnist Sally Jenkins tells us why winning is so important to so many people. On the non-World Cup front, Paul Tenorio profiles D.C. United rookies Andrew Quinn and Jordan Graye, former DeMatha High School teammates.

*Yes, this spread in The Post's Style section belongs in People magazine, but like it or not, interest in the World Cup has been bolstered by, er, abs-tract art.

By Steve Goff  |  July 10, 2010; 4:01 AM ET
Categories:  2010 World Cup , D.C. United , Germany  | Tags: D.C. United, Michel Platini, World Cup  
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Next: Germany vs. Uruguay in World Cup third-place match

Comments

Nice article by Paul Tenorio..GO UNITED!

OT spent the week in Denver and was amazed and just how far Dick's Sporting Goods field is from the city center. Coors field, on the other hand, sits right downtown and the baseball fans--especially visiting Cardinal Fans--were everywhere. Denver's MLS team just seemed invisible, even in the sports shops I saw no merchandise. Please keep DCU within a sane distance if it must be moved out of DC proper.

Posted by: DCB23 | July 10, 2010 7:49 AM | Report abuse

I'm skipping the 3rd place game (although I will record it) for a trip to the new Dead Bull facility in New Jersey.

Goff, as I recall that 3rd place game in '94 was notable because Stoichkov was trying hard to score and win the Golden Boot but the Swedes shut him down and his frustration was evident.

Good article about the local kids from DeMatha but why didn't Octopus Paul Tenorio include his predictions?

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | July 10, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Sigh. If some fans are watching the US team in hopes of Donovan ripping his shirt off, then so be it. Makes me sad, though.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | July 10, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

I don't know if anyone mentioned this on the Insider yesterday but according to Ives blog Chivas USA signed Venezuelan Giancarlo Maldonado. That's a big signing by MLS standards.

Not as famous as someone like Thierry Henry but could well be more important on the field.

Maldonado's been one of the top scorers in the Mexican League in recent years with Atlante and then had moved onto some team in Spain (Xerez?).

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | July 10, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Look at this drivel on MLSsoccer.com . . . the fact is the RBNY fans don't care about the trophy b/c we've destroyed them and their sad little franchise for that last 12 years!

RBNY fans don't need a trophy to define D.C. rivalry
Atlantic Cup at stake in heated Eastern Conference matchup

Kristian Dyer MLSsoccer.com July 9, 2010
Bryan Namoff kisses the Atlantic Cup after D.C. United won the season series against the New York Red Bulls in 2008. (Tony Quinn/Getty)
HARRISON, N.J. – A cup, by any other name for New York fans, still wouldn’t seem too sweet.

Saturday’s rivalry clash between the Red Bulls and D.C. United should be an entertaining affair on and off the field, with traveling support surely headed north in numbers to Red Bull Arena.

It’s just another go-around at the longest running rivalry in MLS. In their final meeting of the season, the teams will battle for the Atlantic Cup, the trophy given out since 2002 to the team that captures the season series. New York won this season's opening leg 2-0 in DC on May 2.

The cup dates back to 2002, when the two sides discussed the cup as a way to enhance the rivalry. D.C. United picked the name Atlantic Cup for the trophy to be given to the winner of the season series, but New York predictably balked. They submitted the name Liberty Cup, opting to never allow their most hated rival to give name to the trophy.

At an impasse, the two clubs decided that the winner of the 2002 season series would name the cup. D.C. United won the rights that year, but New York fans still don’t put much stock in a trophy to define this rivalry.

“In my opinion, the Atlantic Cup is pointless,” said Lenny Specht, who has season tickets in Section 107 in Red Bull Arena. "My personal hatred for D.C. United began in 1996, and I have never needed a cup to represent that."

Fellow Red Bulls season ticket holder Thomas Binley agrees. “In fact, I think it takes away from it,” he added. “Having a cup awarded to a franchise/club/brand for their results against one another in a regular-season game means nothing to me. The end result of all the games should be the focus.”

The fact that the Red Bulls seem poised to end six consecutive years of losing out on the trophy rights to their fiercest rival means little to fans like Binkley.

“I know that New York fans don't care about winning the Atlantic Cup, because it is a cup,” Binkley said. “They care about beating DC. On the other side of things, I think United supporters love to run home to their basement lair at their parents' house to brag about the Atlantic Cup – to each other.”

Specht agrees. “The rivalry comes from the fans. When game day comes around, the last thing on my mind is the Atlantic Cup,” Specht said. “I don’t need a cup to hate DC. It’s just a part of being a Red Bull supporter.”

Posted by: delantero | July 10, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Sadly, I won' be able to make it to RBA today. The crap weather is a tiny bit of a comfort, but hardly the reason for not making the trip. I'm broke as a joke and due in Seattle for a wedding on Thursday...
Even more painful... I'll be in Seattle when the Flounders visit RFK.
My only hope for just attending a game at Qwest is the friendly vs Celtic at Qwest on Sunday. No thanks.

I'll watch tonight on the boob tube and start packing my scarves and jerseys for the imminent Jimi Hendrix statue draped in DCU gear photo op...:)

Posted by: DadRyan | July 10, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Regarding the article on penalty-kick shootouts ... It breaks my heart that a game as beautiful as soccer has to be decided in this degrading way. Instead of dreaming up yet more phony tie-breakers, people should be thinking about how games can be won, most of the time, by actually playing soccer -- I know, I know, a shocking concept. I would say widen the goalposts, move the penalty spot back, eliminate the direct free kick -- a dead-ball set play is not soccer, it's a practice drill -- and free the game from its self-imposed chains.

Posted by: Groff | July 10, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Anyone else remember the ads DC United came out with before that inaugural season? It was something like "In soccer, it's tradition to hate your closest rival. That's easy -- ours is New York."

Not our closest rival anymore, but the point still stands.

Posted by: Hokienautic | July 10, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

this connection between soccer and nice abs is totally bogus. I've watched almost every game of the world cup, including some in bars, and I have nothing like those gorgeous superstar abs.

at best, I have the torso (and right foot) of Marco Etcheverry.

Posted by: hungrypug | July 10, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Following up on a couple of previous threads:

1. Did anyone else see Platini (and Boniek, Rossi, et al.) with Juventus at RFK in '83?

2. Given the groundswell of support for Forlan (at least among people who have weighed in here), have players who didn't appear in the championship game historically been at a disadvantage in the Golden Ball race?

Posted by: universityandpark | July 10, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

The best comment I ever heard about PK's was a British announcer years ago saying after a shootout that the winning team won "by lottery."

Posted by: paulkp | July 10, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Final proof that the Atlantic Cup doesn't really matter: No mention of it in the game writeup in the Post.

Posted by: Hokienautic | July 11, 2010 12:32 AM | Report abuse

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