Spain against Germany, of itself, is a World Cup final. Except for the early game against Serbia, Germany have been the best and most improving team in the tournament, while Spain are champions of Europe, with more than half the team of Barcelona, including the best midfield in world football. It promises to be a magnificent match.
I forecast that Germany would defeat Argentina although like many I was surprised at just how easily they achieved this. Tactically Germany were excellent, denying the Argentinean midfield possession of the ball, and suffocating Messi, Tevez and Higuain. When Germany had chances, they were created with precision and despatched with clinical efficiency. Maradona struck a bewildered, frustrated and isolated figure on the touchline: he had no answers, perhaps not even understanding or recognising the questions that were being asked of his team.
German team is best: Spanish players
Football is a team game, it is about combining a mix of talents and creating something bigger than its individual components. Coach Loew has achieved this, Maradona did not. Lahm led the defence magnificently and Schweinsteiger played a superb game in midfield, but it was the team as a whole that shut down Messi and Argentina. Muller, Podolski and Klose, sparked by Ozil, lit fires all over the field and torched a brittle Argentine back-line. It was the same as they achieved against Australia and in the second-half against England.
If there is a question mark over this team, then it is in its ability to break down teams who adopt a very defensive approach and look to counter-attack. Serbia defeated them playing this way, Ghana proved very stubborn opponents. Germany like teams to open up and attack them, to leave space into which Podolski, Ozil, Muller and Klose can break; they are not so good when teams deny them space.
Spain play attacking football, which should suit Germany, but they are a very good team, tactically aware, individually gifted, and yet to show their true potential. Their midfield is magnificent, although against Paraguay they really struggled and were fortunate to survive. Torres again failed to perform, Villa, other than his goal, contributed little. Xabi Alonso was disappointing and missed a penalty on the second kick, having scored with the first but having had it ruled out. Paraguay had their chances, missing a penalty of their own.
In the final minutes the foot of Casillas rescued a lead that had been achieved with a goal that had seen the ball first hit both posts. In the past, however, the Spanish team would not have made it through. They carry the burden of never having won the World Cup, of having talented teams that always fail to live up to their potential. This team will hope to change all that, after all as champions of Europe they have already proven they have a winning mentality.
Looking ahead to the semi-final, I feel that either team could win this game. I expect both teams to be tactically well organised and disciplined, and neither will surrender possession easily. Spain should start favourites because of the extra quality overall, but Germany are the team in form, their confidence and belief is stronger, and we don’t really know the full potential of this team. Thomas Mueller will be a big miss for Germany, but it is the team not just one player that creates and scores goals.
FIFA World Cup
Spain are more reliant on Villa, who has been in excellent form and scored five of their six goals. Torres cannot afford another bad game. If Germany scores first and in the first half, I believe they will win 3-1, catching Spain on the counter as the Spanish press forward for an equaliser. If Spain scores first, they can defend the lead, frustrate Germany, and run out 1-0 winners. Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that Spain have scored just six goals and all but one have come from David Villa whereas Germany have scored thirteen goals so far and these have been spread amongst several players from all areas of the team. This is why I expect to see Germany in the final.
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