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Spain end Germany's World Cup dream

AFP/The Local · 7 Jul 2010, 23:24

Published: 07 Jul 2010 22:21 GMT+02:00
Updated: 07 Jul 2010 23:24 GMT+02:00

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Spain will now meet the Netherlands in Sunday's final at Soccer City in Johannesburg. Germany will play for third place against Uruguay on Saturday in Port Elizabeth.

Veteran centre-back Puyol settled the semi-final encounter at the Durban Stadium with a forceful header in the 73rd minute, leaving German keeper Manuel Neuer no chance.

"We just didn't do enough up front and that allowed Spain to create chances," said Neuer. "We know we played a good tournament. But right now the disappointment is huge."

Germany coach Jogi Löw admitted his young side, which had dazzled with its great football during this summer's World Cup, had met its match.

"Compliments to Spain," he said. "I believe they will be the world champions, they have been the best for the last two or three years."

Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque had sprung a surprise before kick-off by dropping out-of-form Liverpool forward Fernando Torres and replacing him with Barcelona youngster Pedro.

That move allowed tournament top scorer David Villa to play through the middle and the switch almost paid dividends six minutes into the game.

Pedro came in off his wing and slipped a delightful ball in behind the Germany defence which Villa ran on to but he had to slide in to shoot before Neuer arrived and he succeeded only in prodding the ball into the goalkeeper's chest.

Spain should have gone ahead on 14 minutes after a cleverly-worked corner routine left Andres Iniesta free to cross from the right, but Puyol got too much purchase on his diving header and sent the ball over the bar.

Germany were stretched again on 19 minutes as a great crossfield ball from Xabi Alonso found the marauding Sergio Ramos but after an exquisite piece of control his shot was wild and high.

"We weren't courageous enough up front in the first half," said a visibly upset Germany captain Philipp Lahm right after the match. "But you have to say the Spaniards are a really strong team."

Germany finally threatened on 32 minutes when Piotr Trochowski, in for the suspended Thomas Müller, shot from distance and forced Iker Casillas into a

sprawling save low to his left.

Mesut Özil thought he should have had a penalty on the stroke of half-time when he went down under a challenge from Ramos but his appeals were waved away

Story continues below…

by referee Viktor Kassai.

For all their pretty approach play, Spain were struggling to get into the box and started hitting pot shots from distance with Alonso, twice, and Villa shooting wide.

Neuer then saved from Pedro, who moments later shot wide while Villa was inches away from a tap-in after Iniesta jinked into the box and squared the ball across goal.

Up the other end substitute Marcell Jansen's cross was flicked on by a Spanish head, but on the turn Miroslav Klose could only volley high. And on 69 minutes Germany created possibly their best chance of the match as substitute Toni Kroos arrived unmarked at the back post onto Lukas Podolski's cross but his finish was weak and straight at Casillas.

But then came Puyol's great leap to propel Spain into the final. Spain had several chances on the counter attack late on but Pedro wasted the best of those as he tried to turn Arne Friedrich once too often instead of squaring to the unmarked substitute Torres.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

09:53 July 8, 2010 by cargohenry
I said it all alog. in order to beat germany spain had to play not only very concentrated but also with "furia" (fury). Germany plays to win until the last whistle is blown. Germany played a great game but Spain played a perfect tactical game. Proof and point was when Carles Puyol , in the midst of a spanish attack sent the ball all the way back to casillas. Why? because all of Spain´s players where in Germany´s field and a break-away could bee tremendouly dangerous as germany´s players are tremendously fast . This was a very smart move by Puyolñ. spain had patience to go bgack and start again and again. it was only a question of time before Spain scored and they could have done so on three more ocasions and germany had a couple as well. Great game indeed by the best teams in Europe today. There is always tomorrow and germany will allways be there.
10:44 July 8, 2010 by moistvelvet
It is a shame that Germany didn't win, a shame for the millions of decent fans riding on the euphoria and proudly waving their national flag. That's all, no pun, no jibe, just acknowledgement that Germany exceeded all expectations and got their country cheering, well done.

But German's shouldn't be too down hearted, they still have Schumacher "driving" in F1 :-o
11:28 July 8, 2010 by Unlight
I'm from Spain, and obviously I'm happy at spanish team winning, but at the same time I feel a bit sad, cause I think this match got to be the final one!. I don't like to see German figthing for the third place, cause that team is great enough to be the first or the second one of the world. Great championship, congrats to German team and people!
11:45 July 8, 2010 by Nur Ainne Johar
Gosh, Lahm and the gang, stop saying you guys weren't courageous enough to beat the Spain team! It wasn't meant to be, full stop! You and the team have done so much and deserve respect from your people and fans, so enjoy it!
12:28 July 8, 2010 by dluckygurl8
Spain controlled the game, just like any great team should! They were in possession of the ball for practically 80% of the game. However, I expected a more exciting game from them and was hoping they would get more goals if you dominate the match that much. With all due respect to Spain, it was like watching paint dry.

Die deutsche Fußballnationalmannschaft have, by far, shown the most exciting and entertaining football in this WC. They have shown not only brilliant performances but respect, humility and professionalism. They may not be taking the Cup home, but, in the end, they are the true victors!
12:53 July 8, 2010 by krautrock
Yes Germany is a great team, but they never won a cup in the last four years. So there must be something wrong.
13:06 July 8, 2010 by moistvelvet
And yet they came so close to emulating what West Germany had done three times previously, 83% of Germans believed that this was their time.
13:25 July 8, 2010 by Prufrock2010
dluckygurl8 --

If you think watching Spain's elegant one-touch passing, ball control and strategic execution was "like watching the paint dry," I submit that you don't know anything about this sport. Spain's play epitomized what Pelé decribed as "the beautiful game." Maybe basketball is more your style.

I agree that Germany performed throughout the tournament with style, grace and (until last night) an element of passion heretofore missing in German football. They are not the "true victors" because they came up against a better team and were outplayed from beginning to end, but they are young, talented and have much to be proud about.
14:14 July 8, 2010 by NYsteve

83% of Germany AND this American! I am consoled in the fact that the nation of Germany had a common thing to cheer for these last few weeks, it had brought everyone together......the next World Cup is YOURS!!!!

14:31 July 8, 2010 by hanskarl
"Germany played a great game but Spain played a perfect tactical game."

Spot on. Germany's tactics up front for this game were not very good. It was apparent in the first 20 minutes they were not the same offensive team as in the previous matches. And midfield thez had changed. This was all into Spain's favor.

From the start Jogi talked about flow and keeping the ball moving. I had high hopes when I saw Piotr Trochowski strike in the first half and thought perhaps Thomas Müller's loss will not be as big of a factor. But it became clear that the loss of Müller played a significant role. The offenses intensity level dropped without him. His mates had grown very accustomed to his presence, his nuances and patterns and thinking. This is critical at this level.

The dubious Müller yellow card cost Germany tremendously. And the lack if the yellow card and free kick in the first half was significant as well. The officiating was poor through most of the tournament. Hopefully, it will improve.

Regardless, with Jogi at the helm and this group of players in the next European Championships we much to look forward to in the future. Congrats to Spain they outplayed Germany.
14:46 July 8, 2010 by OkieinBerlin
Coming to dluckygurl's defense, Mr. Prufrock -- I too found the game somewhat boring, given its importance. (And I've played this game all my life, even in some of the uncivilized places I've lived, so please don't insult me too because we disagree.) Spain showed great ball possession, and a better defense than I expected, and deserved the win, but their game was not Pele's beautiful game. Pele's beautiful game was an offensive, creative, attacking game -- not a midfield holding game based on ball possession. At any rate, congratulations to Spain -- however they did it, they certainly outplayed Germany.
15:22 July 8, 2010 by Der Grenadier aus Aachen
When this young team comes back in four years with the benefit of half decade of extra experience, they are going to be a terrible force to confront. We'll get that fourth cup sooner or later, no worries.
16:20 July 8, 2010 by moistvelvet
You could be right Grenadier, however conisder this; who is to say that this young German team of rising stars will not be tainted by their recent success?

By that I mean, will these young men resist the lucrative contracts when the English premiere league come knocking, or even from within the Bundesliga. Will they be able to resist turning into the prima-donnas and adopting the alpha male culture that Muller himself describes as being the English squad's achilles heal? Afterall Germany no doubt improved as a team because Ballack wasn't on the pitch.
17:26 July 8, 2010 by nightwish
I agree with the report by hanskari,a poor refereeing decision cost Thomas Muller a booking and his place in this match.It seemed to make a big difference to the team.Dont know whether it was the managers tactics or what but Germany didnt attack Spain in the manner they attacked previous teams which had brought them so much success in those games
17:34 July 8, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Okay, Mr. Okie, you win. You want to pick a fight, I don't. Today's my birthday and I'm not into conflict at the moment. I watched all the matches and this was one of the least boring, in my humble opinion. The Dutch quarterfinal was so boring that I repaired to the nearby laundromat to watch my clothes tumble around in the dryer, as that was more interesting.

In any case, Spain won, Germany lost. End of story. At least it was relatively clean and not decided by a blind referee, as opposed to many of the other matches we all witnessed. Enjoy third place.
17:48 July 8, 2010 by hanskarl
Happy Birthday Counselor.
18:06 July 8, 2010 by OkieinBerlin
Hi Mr. Prufrock -- I'm not picking a fight, I'm just disagreeing with you. Happy Birthday!
18:09 July 8, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Thanks. With any luck it will be my last.
21:32 July 8, 2010 by dluckygurl8

Happy Birthday!

I found last night's game boring. Period. That's just my humble opinion, whether you agree or not.

I have not seen Pelé's games (as I was born after he retired though I have watched his life story at my Spanish aunt's house when I was seven so it's not like I don't know who Edison Arantes do Nascimento is ) nor do I claim to be a football expert, so I wouldn't pretend to be an authority on Pelé's concept of a 'beautiful game' (Thanks OkieinBerlin for clarifying!). I just happen to appreciate watching the sport and find last night's match L-A-N-G-W-E-I-L-I-G. Punkt.

As for the German Team being the 'true victors' - I obviously didn't mean that literally. Na ja, I don't know why I'm even explaining this, I'm pretty sure you didn't just turn six today. Enjoy your birthday!

Congratulations to Spain for a well-deserved win! :)
19:29 July 9, 2010 by Logic Guy
Well, I personally believe that most World Cup refs would rather see any team defeat Germany. Go back to 2002. Again, Germany's star player, Ballack, was forced out of the final against Brazil, by a yellow card. And here in 2010, we all know that Mueller did nothing to deserve the one had got.

They obviously know that if Germay's top players are kept of of semi-finals and finals, that Germany's chances of winning are reduced.

Based upon the facts, Germany had the best team in this World Cup. They scored and defended the best. Sometimes the best team does not win. Yes, to win is nice. But to know that you are the best is brilliant. It's actually the most imortant thing. It's a feeling that will last forever.

A trophy means little if your aren't the best.

When the men don't win, the women do. Germany's women's team has won the last 2 World Cup titles.
21:05 July 9, 2010 by madanbandekar
The German players deserved to win, and they played their heart out, just to lift the World cup for their country. But Alas! there is some thing called as luck. We just didn't have it on that day, when it mattered. Nevertheless, our Muller was voted the young player of the tournament, and who knows there could be more awards in store. I am not sad, but I am proud for the Germans for putting up a great show. Well done.
12:25 July 11, 2010 by ang2010
Well, it seems even most-hated auslanders cannot help Germany.
23:29 July 15, 2010 by Logic Guy
Well, keep in mind that in reality, winning is actually not the most important thing. I learned this a teenager while player football(soccer) here in the US. Sure, I won trophies, but knowing that I was the best player in our league is so much cooler, as I reflect back.

High self-esteem is brilliant. It's the form of intelligence that everyone has access to. Hum...how wonderful this world would be.
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