Forlan hoping to be ready to chase WCup award

Not all is lost for Uruguay striker Diego Forlan.

Even after his team lost to the Netherlands in the semifinals,

Forlan has something to aim for at the World Cup. He hopes a right

thigh injury will not stop him from playing in the third-place

playoff match as he attempts to win the top scorer’s award.

Uruguay will take on Spain or Germany in Port Elizabeth on

Saturday. Forlan has four goals in the tournament, one fewer than

leading scorers Wesley Sneijder of the Netherlands and Spain’s

David Villa.

Forlan was replaced in the 84th minute of the 3-2 semifinal loss

to the Dutch on Tuesday because of the injury. He earlier scored

Uruguay’s opening goal.

Germany forwards Miroslav Klose and Thomas Mueller are other

players with four goals who are still active in the tournament.

Forlan’s teammate, Luis Suarez, has three.

Like Suarez, Mueller was suspended for the semifinals.

“I’m hoping to be there on Saturday,” said Forlan, who said he

was hurt in the first few minutes against the Dutch.

Forlan has a total of five goals across two World Cups. He also

scored at the 2002 tournament in South Korea and Japan when Uruguay

failed to reach the second round.

The Atletico Madrid striker has scored 28 times for his country,

three fewer than Hector Scarone’s Uruguay record. At the club

level, the 31-year-old Forlan has also twice won Europe’s Golden

Boot award as the continent’s top scorer.

Forlan’s skill at finding open space has helped him finding the

net so often. He’s also dangerous with either foot and from long

range.

Against Ghana in the quarterfinals, he scored on a right-footed

free kick from about 25 yards that soared over goalkeeper Richard

Kingson. In the semifinal, his left-footed drive from just under 30

yards went off keeper Maarten Stekelenburg’s hand as he leaped high

to block it.

Forlan also is an adept passer, and with Suarez back from his

suspension for an intentional handball in the win over Ghana,

Uruguay has its one-two punch for the third-place match.

Suarez missed the Dutch match after receiving a red card for the

handball that stopped Ghana scoring a last-minute winner in the

quarterfinals. Uruguay won on penalty kicks following a 1-1 draw

after extra time.

“Now what’s left is to play to the death for third place,”

Suarez said. “Because we know we’ve had a great World Cup, we

don’t want to just make do with being among the top four.

“For this squad, the World Cup is not over yet. The World Cup

goes on and, just as we wanted to go as far as possible before, now

we want to make sure we are among the top three.”