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World Cup Daily Recap: Spain reaches final with 1-0 win over Germany

Carles Puyol 1 (Reuters)  


It took 73 minutes, but Carles Puyol's goal against Germany on Wednesday was enough to see Spain do something it had never done before: reach the World Cup final.

Puyol notched the only goal of the semifinal match, scoring off a thunderous diving header in the 73rd minute. The 1-0 result was the same scoreline that Spain defeated the Germans by two years ago in the European Championship final.

More importantly, the win at Durban Stadium advanced Spain to its first World Cup final, where it will face the Netherlands in a match that will crown a first-ever champion at Soccer City in Johannesburg.

Germany, which struggled to create chances and maintain possession for stretches, will have to try and settle for third place on Saturday just as it did four years ago. Germany will face Uruguay in the Third Place match at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.

Here are the match highlights:


What did you think of Spain's 1-0 victory? Disappointed by the Germans' showing? Do you see Spain winning it all against the Dutch?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. In fairness to Ives, I think Spain is a better team than Holland.

    I have to eat crow now as I didn’t think Spain could get past the Quarters. However, there is a reason why the World Cup isn’t quite a fair competition…

    Spain played… Switzerland, Honduras, Chile, Portugal, Paraguay, Germany

    Germany played… Ghana, Australia, Serbia, England, Argentina, Spain

    Germany are my team of the tournament but credit to Spain. Now I hope their boring as*es lose in the final.

  2. I’ve been impressed by both squads this tournament, not having strong feelings either for or against either.

    One thing I do have to confess is a growing appreciation for Spain’s style – they play with a lot of heart. Maybe not the fastest, tallest, strongest players out there, but they play with all they have, for the full game. For example Villa is often seen sprinting after the ball, and you can feel his unabashed love for the game.

    This particular game was all about the midfield, and we saw two really strong midfields duking it out all game. I thought the match was thrilling, but I’m more into the strategy and flow of the game as opposed to goals and “splash plays” as they are called.

    Will be very interesting to see ES and NL playing for the whole thing this weekend. Sad to see the tournament coming to an end!

  3. I don’t know when people will get it. Spain is better. They control the ball like none other. Germany couldn’t play their game cause Spain owned possession. Netherlands played a falling apart Brazil that was bound to lose to the first good team the played. VIVA ESPAÑA

  4. nah, spain was better because germany failed to go at them at at steady rate. you let spain play their tempo and you’re asking for the loss. you can’t counter against spain, their goalie and central defense are too fast and too seasoned for it.

    germany should have gone for the throat from the first whistle and never let up.

  5. nyuk nyuk, but all it takes is one sellable dive in the box. the dutch have been real lucky, and sometimes it’s better to be lucky.

    that said I hope spain obliterates them.

  6. I am a German fan (did the name give it away?). It is clear that Spain was better in this game…that I can’t question. But is it really that obvious that Spain is a superior team?

    Did they dominate this tournament? No they struggled to sneak by most of the teams they played. Granted they have done what they had to do, but haven’t been dominant.

    Are they clearly a better team on paper? You could argue yes, but being good on paper doesn’t mean a whole lot…just ask England or France.

    Are they a traditionally and historically superior power that always plays well in the World Cup? If they win on Sunday it would be thier first World Cup title, and traditionally they have been known to underachieve.

    Spain played organized, disciplined, and creative enough soccer to win the game, and were the superior team today. However my point was that if Germany came in with a different mentality and game plan they could have won this game. Spain is not vastly superior, just better today.

  7. To be fair, Spain does more than its fair share of rolling on the ground, not just on the pitch but in the financial sector as well

  8. RE: “Spain managed a slightly unusual (I won’t say “lucky,” but it certainly wasn’t what you’d have drawn up in the locker room) goal to win it.”

    I wouldn’t be so sure of that statement. I think that was a very well planned play and brilliantly excecuted. Spain’s coaches watched tape and knew that Germany plays a zone defense on corners. They saw a hole in the zone- up high, and that’s why Pujol flew into the hole. He ran at least 10 yards to get where he was going. That was no accident, nor the ball perfectly delivered to him.

  9. I missed the part of my comment where I said all European teams are better than the US. Anyways, I played soccer in the US from age 5 to 20, and at least a dozen times every match, I would hear parents/fans yelling “boot it” as loudly as possible. I sometimes hear the same things at MLS matches, although not as often. I hardly ever remember someone yelling “pass it out wide” or “look for the open man.” Just “boot it.”

  10. The game wasn’t boring because Spain, Germany’s unwillingness to play made it that way. If they had opted to play instead it would had been totally different.

  11. Hard to fathom where people are coming from criticizing Germany’s strategy. It was essentially what the USA did against Spain last year, except with better players, so they had a better chance of taking the game. Switzerland figured it out, too.

    It’s fairly clear at this point that unpacking your defense against Spain is suicide. They showed a graphic noting that Spain have won, now, I think 42 games in a row when they score a goal. The way to beat them is to pack tall players into your box (which basically cancels out the wings too, because Spain’s players are short enough that crosses don’t really work for them) and spring one or two counterattacks to poach a goal.

    This time, Germany scuffed the one golden chance they had, and Spain managed a slightly unusual (I won’t say “lucky,” but it certainly wasn’t what you’d have drawn up in the locker room) goal to win it. Which is usually what will happen, but a chance of winning is a lot better than no chance. Germany certainly shouldn’t feel “regret” at their choice of strategy.

  12. Spain’s play is not boring, but you might not have been watching the correct part of the field to truly appreciate it. Part-way through the game, I started watching the off-the-ball movement of the Spanish– just amazing. Every time the ball came to a Spanish player’s feet, there were already a minimum of 2 or 3 players in position to receive it. You could see where the ball was going to be in 2 or 3 passes just by watching players anticipating the next move and setting up for it.

  13. Most of you guys are a bunch on front runner Johnny-come-lately dudes that do not know jack about soccer. All of these predictions that Germany was going to blast Spain were a joke. The smart aficionados on previous threads stated that Germany had lost to Serbia and could have easily have lost to Ghana- a team the U.S. could have beaten. The real reason Spain won is because it is pure class. Spain is going to defeat Holland and then throw some paella in their eye. I would actually like to see them throw mud. 70% of the people on these threads do not know anything about soccer. They just base their prediction on stupid stereotypes. The biggest joke of them all was that Brazil was going to win it all. I laugh in your faces HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!

  14. Yeah that’s it :/. Ok go back and play with your friends now Eurosnob, I bet you can be juuuuust like them if you try hard enough.

  15. I keep hearing “how little Germany brought” or “how poorly they played” or “Germany was rattled from two years ago”.

    Not a peep about how Spain dominated then both offensively and defensively. Germany was punched in the mouth.

    And to the comments above calling Spain boring, are you out of your minds? Spain’s passing is a thing of incredibly beauty. The composure and technique of the players combined with the pin point accuracy be it 3 yards or 30 is wonderful to watch.

    Spain wasn’t boring, Germany parking the bus was boring. Spain didn’t push the issue and turn the ball over, they only waited patiently, by keeping possession inside the German third, for a break in the German wall of players That is as beautiful football as it comes.

  16. I am not sure the possession game in general is boring, but this specific game was a little bland. It would have been nice to see a couple of Spanish goals from good possession and a German goal from a quick counterattack, just to spice things up. There is beauty and excitement from both methods. Today just wasn’t a day when they produce a lot of goals.

  17. I’d like to correct you….Spain’s opponents have played dour, dour football against the Spanish. The Spanish have had to blast through some defenses with 10 men behind the ball.

    Enough already with the Anti-Spain brigade.

  18. I’m actually with J on this one. As impressive as it is to watch Spain boss midfield and control posession in every match they play, there’s a mechanical quality to it — there’s no joy in how Spain plays, only cold technical perfection. “La Furia Roja” they ain’t.

  19. Pedro was selfish, that second goal was ripe for the taking if he passed the ball to Torres. But Pedro wanted the glory.

  20. Profoundly disappointing display from a neutral’s perspective, and still perplexed at how little Germany brought today. What happened to them? Wish there wasn’t the what-if of Muller lingering. FIFA f*(&# it up again. If you get two yellows in 5 games, you have to sit out the next? Really FIFA?

  21. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Germany would have won if Mueller was playing.

    No way would he have let his team go for 30 minutes without a single shot on goal.

  22. Are you guys insane? The passing and technique from Spain have been amazing. They completely dominated in the game today. Go watch teams give up possesion all game long…now THAT’S boring.

  23. I am with you, J. Spain has been boring the whole tournament. They are good, but I hate watching them. This was a boring semifinal. The Orange will crush them!!!

  24. Agreed with almost everything…except for the idea that Germany lost to a better team. Germany’s squad was plenty good enough to go toe-to toe with Spain and win this. I blame Low. Not sure why his team is always so tenative against Spain. I felt like I was watching a replay of the Euro final from 2 years ago. Spain the aggressor, Germany sitting back letting them control the tempo, Spain take advantage of a German miscue on defense (no one on Puyol, with 3 German defenders on another player…terrible), Germany throw everything into an unorganized attack to finish the game, and Spain win 1-0. Low took the same approach and got beat again. As a German fan I am proud of the run this young team made, but if they were going to lose I wish I could say they played thier best and lost to a superior team…I can’t say that. Spain deserve to win, but I disappointed in the Germans, especially Low.

  25. Really? I think you’ll find many who disagree with you there.

    I thought Spain were utterly dominant, and they created far more chances against an organized German side. This was a thrilling match to watch, an unstoppable force against an immovable object. I’m glad Spain won–that was one of the more dominant 1-0 wins I’ve ever seen, and against a high-quality opponent to boot. I’d rather see a team score once against a good defense than run roughshod over a sandlot team (Argentina) or an overrated team that doesn’t get along (England).

  26. Spaces before or after Robben falls down crying in pain and holding his face even though he was hit in the chin?

  27. Everyone was saying Germany would win, but I had a feeling Spain’s possession would give Germany lots of problems. After a while Germany was getting frustrated. Plus Spain was in the under dog position which took the pressure off them. The final should be good!

  28. Germany weathered the suicide of their starting goalkeeper (R.I.P. Enke). And weathered the injury of captain and talisman Michael Ballack. Many discounted the team at the beginning of the WC due to their youth and inexperience. Germany went on to win one of the two tourny’s argued “Group of Deaths”. They would have survived the group undefeated if Poldi had converted the pk vs Serbia. Even with ten men Germany pressed hard in that game. As under dogs, in the round of 16, they demolished England. Many picked the Three Lions for the semi-finals or maybe even as a WC dark horse. Next, the Germans demolished Diego and Argentina. Argentina also was favored to win the game and reach the finals.

    Today Germany lost to the better team. Spain showed up to play. Still, Spain could only score from a set piece via an unmarked defender. The Germans stifled the WC’s leading goal scorer — David Villa and Co. One lapse cost the game for Germany. I do wish Germany had tried to attack earlier in the game, but for 73 minutes the strategy worked and Germany looked to start getting more chances. The strategy backfired.

    Germany played an amazing cup. They changed tactics and players when needed and tallied 13 goals. Much respect.

    More respect to Spain. Their football is superior.

  29. Love that Ives is already predicting a Spain win on twitter. Guess he has not learned a thing in SA. Brazil was supposed to win from Holland and look what happened. Holland is definitely the underdog but I think Robben and Kuyt will take better advantage of the spaces left by the Spanish than the Germans did.

  30. During Euro 2008, I got swept away by the Dutch and their gaudy scorelines against impressive opposition. When Russia ran rampant over them in the knockouts, I swore that I would never again be swayed merely by scorelines.

    I thought Germany were slight favorite coming in, but I voted Spain in the poll because I thought they would win. This is the same group of players that beat Germany in the Euro final, and Xavi and Iniesta are the best in the world at controlling midfield. The best.


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