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Shooting the Breeze: World Cup 2010 Day 23 - Semi Finals - Germany vs Spain

There will be a new name on the World Cup on Sunday after Spain deservedly beat Germany 1-0 with the irony of a goal from a corner scored by Carles Puyol.

Spain came into this game as slight favourites against a highly rated and youthful Germany side and, despite keeping a majority of the possession in an engrossing passing game it fell to an English style set piece headed past Manuel Neuer in the goal by captain Carles Puyol from Xavi's corner.

Germany were missing the dynamism of suspended Thomas Muller but they engaged the Spanish and tried to make the best of what little possession they had but chasing the ball made them tired and they were soon struggling to cope with a growing number of near misses orchestrated by Xavi, Xabi Alonso and Pedro from midfield.

David Villa in particular was dangerous up front for the Spanish and Sami Khedira sustained a injury early in the second half and seemed to be off the pace for the Germans until he was substituted perhaps a little too late. Despite this the tide was beginning to turn a little in Germany's favour later in the second half until Spain's crucial goal.

Carles Puyol had earlier had a great header cleared by the Germans but rose unmarked in the 73rd minute to head Xavi's corner. It was a massive boost for the Spanish and the least they deserved for all their possession and superb passing game which was beginning to look like it wouldn't get rewarded for their intricate play.

Tony Kroos, on as a sub, had Germany's best chance in the second half before Puyol's goal, testing Iker Casillas after Lukas Podolski's cross found the midfielder unmarked at the far post but the chance was parried.

Pedro broke free late in the game and could have sealed matters after he broke on a counter attack and had substitute Fernando Torres unmarked and available to his left but chose to switch to his right foot and was robbed by Kroos.

There was a moment's fear that the Germans would make the Spanish pay for their lack of killer instinct but they couldn't find the extra gear to overcome the the Spanish.

For Premiership watchers, it was like watching a highly stylised Arsenal control a match against Spurs. With a low tempo possession game they made the Germans chase the ball and achieved another result out against a very capable opposition who were missing one of their best attacking players.

Spain will now face the Netherlands for the right to become the 8th name on the World Cup in their first World Cup final. Hopefully it'll be an exhibition of Total Football.


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