2010 World Cup semi-final: Germany v Spain full time report

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2010 World Cup semi-final: Germany v Spain full time report

Germany 0 Spain 1

A thumping Carles Puyol header 17 minutes from time put Spain into their first ever World Cup final, as Germany were beaten in Durban.

Puyol threw himself at Barcelona team-mate Xavi’s corner to emphatically give his side the advantage from 10 yards out, after a night which had seen the Germans frustrate their European counterparts.

David Villa had come closest to scoring in the first half, but his effort was blocked by German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, while Puyol headed an Andrés Iniesta cross over the bar.

Germany created little, but Piotr Trochowski tested Iker Casillas from distance and his replacement Toni Kroos saw a half volleyed effort saved by the Spanish captain.

But it’s Spain who make it through to face the Netherlands in Johannesburg on Sunday night, bringing together two countries who have never won the World Cup before.

The Spanish were pre-tournament favourites, and deserved victory in this tight, tense semi final.

It was a slow start, but Spain were looking the more threatening, and Pedro – in for the omitted Fernando Torres – played a precise through ball for the ever dangerous Villa, only for Neuer to race from his line and block well.

Spain were keeping the ball superbly, and Puyol should have done better than powerfully head over a terrific Iniesta cross, before Sergio Ramos blazed over after being found by Xabi Alonso’s raking crossfield pass.

Alonso drove wide from distance, before Germany’s first real effort at goal, as Trochowski’s long range effort was turned around the post by Casillas.

The Germans were trying to play the fast counter attacking game that has served them so well throughout the tournament, and they were left livid in the closing moments of the first half when Ramos tangled with Mesut Özil, but their strong claims for a penalty were waved away by Hungarian referee Viktor Kassai. It certainly could have been given.

Spared that, Spain started the second period well, and a weaving run from Pedro resulted in Alonso’s long range effort that faded wide, before more great Spanish interplay ended in another Alonso shot from distance – this time with his left foot – that thudded into the advertising hoardings.

Villa curled a shot wide after more precise Spain passing, before the real pressure started, and great play from Alonso set up Pedro, whose shot was well saved by Neuer, only for Iniesta to to eventually seize upon the rebound a drive in a cross that was narrowly missed by Villa. Seconds later, Pedro shot wide from distance.

Back at the other end, Miroslav Klose had been quiet, but demonstrated his intentions with a hooked volley over the bar.

The game was heating up, and Ramos was inches away from connecting with a terrific Alonso cross while under pressure from Lukas Podolski, before Germany’s best chance of the game fell to young substitute Toni Kroos, who had only just come on. The 20-year-old – who had just come on for Trochowski – half-volleyed a Podolski cross straight at Casillas with his first touch since coming on.

He would live to regret it, as Puyol’s powerful leap was soon to put Spain ahead.

Trickery down the left flank from Iniesta won a corner, and from Xavi’s delivery, Barcelona captain Puyol threw himself at the ball and thumped it beyond Neuer from 10 yards out. After 73 minutes of Spanish probing and passing, the centre back’s header from a corner wasn’t the most likely way that you could imagine them scoring, but how they welcomed it.

It was a huge uphill task for the Germans now, made even tougher by the emergence of Torres from the Spanish bench, on for Villa.

He should have had a chance immediately, but Pedro chose not to pass to the unmarked striker when he would have been clean through before, back at the other end, referee Kassai controversially chose not to give Germany a free kick on the edge of the penalty area when Bastian Schweinsteiger appeared to be fouled by Puyol.

Spain were to hold on though, and despite some desperate last ditch defending, they reach their first ever World Cup final. Puyol will be toasted in Iberia tonight, and now the focus shifts to the Dutch.

A new world champion will be crowned in Johannesburg on Sunday night.



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