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.

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

  1. Kevin_amold says:

    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.

  2. Erik V says:

    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.

  3. WoodlandStSquirrel says:

    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.

  4. Goalscorer24 says:

    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!

  5. J says:

    Spain’s tippy-tappy possession game is BORING. As a neutral I hope to God they lose the final.

  6. Jorge says:

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

  7. Josh says:

    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).

  8. jig says:

    what do you prefer? When teams concede possession and just look to defend? Route 1? What?

  9. Jorge says:

    What? You serious?

  10. Kaiser says:

    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.

  11. Walter says:

    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!!!

  12. Nathanael Greene says:

    I like Holland better.

  13. Nathanael Greene says:

    Agreed. Spain has played dour, dour football in this cup.

  14. ericJ says:

    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.

  15. not europe says:

    What will Paul the Octopus predict for the final? I’m going with Paul’s prediction!

  16. Scoobert says:

    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.

  17. jjraines says:

    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?

  18. Ricky B. Free says:

    He may dive a lot, but Spain´s defense is not good enough to stop him one on one.

  19. Goalscorer24 says:

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

  20. Ken says:

    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.

  21. Kevin_amold says:

    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.

  22. Jorge says:

    Paul right again. I can smell an octopus cocktail coming soon.

  23. Duck says:

    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.

  24. Adriano says:

    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.

  25. Never First says:

    People think Spain is boring because they normally watch MLS and the USMNT. Just boot it!

  26. I'Dman says:

    Deam on!!!!!!

  27. Oh Plz says:

    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.

  28. IDman says:

    Dream on, fooooool!

  29. IDMan says:

    You’re a fool!!!!!

  30. Stephen says:

    i hope you mean shin.

  31. IDman says:

    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!!!!!!!

  32. Chris says:

    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.

  33. Paul Thomas says:

    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.

  34. Daniel says:

    Holland will not be the only ones finding space; unless they decide to park the bus, which I doubt.

  35. Daniel says:

    It is clear you are a German fan. Spain isn’t superior? That is a good one.

  36. Daniel says:

    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.

  37. Never First says:

    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.”

  38. Hincha Tim says:

    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.

  39. SeattleStan says:

    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

  40. Kasier says:

    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.

  41. Kelso says:

    What I have learned: if you wanted to beat Germany in the wc this year, you wanted 5 in the midfield.

  42. phil says:

    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.

  43. phil says:

    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.

  44. ddzado says:

    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

  45. Daniel says:

    Did they dominate Germany? Yes they did.

  46. phil says:

    what do you want, pasties and sparklers? the guys pass that ball like it’s on a rope.

  47. Spacemonkey says:

    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!

  48. Erik says:

    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.

  49. Erik says:

    Agreed – Germany didn’t start playing until after the goal. I almost fell asleep…

  50. Erik says:

    J – I am 1000% with you. I can’t stand watching this team.

  51. Kaiser says:

    Daniel, I agree that Spain dominated Germany today (I’ve been saying that all along). What I am saying is that Germany is a far better team than what they showed today, and I blame the approach that Low brought into the game.

    Phil, said it well when he said they let Spain play thier tempo, rather than be more agressive and make more runs out of the midfield (something that was Germany’s strength in this tournament). Spain played a good game, and I am not trying to take anything away from them.

  52. Walter says:

    We shall see.

  53. Josh says:

    Absolutely. And Spain’s collective heart shows whenever they lose possession. When EVERY OTHER TEAM loses possession, they immediately try to reestablish their lines and organization so that they don’t get beaten on the break. By contrast, Spain immediately pressure–collectively–to get the ball back. That’s really hard to do, but it has the great effect of never allowing their opponents to get into any kind of rhythm offensively. Schweinsteiger is a great player, but Spain wouldn’t give him the same kind of time that a disorganized Argentine side did, and they pretty much took him out of the game.

  54. Kaiser says:

    We bow to your imminent wisdom powerful IDman. You are such a “smart aficionado” of the game. Get over yourself!!!

    Germany lost to Serbia, because of a card happy ref, and still controlled the play with 10 men. And after they had their goal, they didn’t need to pour it on against Ghana. Germany are a good young side who weren’t mentally focussed or aggressive enough to beat a quality Spanish side. And that “pure class” side should have lost to Paraguay.

  55. Tech says:

    Spain deserved it. They dominated Germany the whole game.

  56. Agreed says:

    Watching Spain play is like going to an art museum – it’s impressive and it’s beautiful and I’m bored after half an hour. I want passion and I want drama; I wanted Germany to win.

  57. Nats says:

    The Spanish game is everything we Americans hate about soccer – little sh!ts dinking the ball around and diving every time someone gets near them. Any red-blooded American would floor one of those Spanish twits when they pull that crap. I’m rooting for the Dutch on Sunday.

  58. jai_brooklyn says:

    Xavi connected 92 passes out of 106. As a neutral, it was exquisite.

  59. ec says:

    I enjoy watching Spain, but I don’t think it’s quite right to say they dominated because they had a lot of problems creating particularly dangerous chances. It was pretty Arsenal-like how much they bogged down once they got to the German box. Too many long range shots that weren’t ever going in. I still think Spain are best with Fabregas.

    I wish the game was played again with Mueller, he adds so much to the German counter attack it would have been a different game. I was most impressed with the Spanish defense, even without the goal Puyol had a monster of a game.

  60. Ben says:

    Please, what diving? Furnish our minds with an example. Spain is everything great about soccer; a team collectively playing brilliantly, not giving the ball away cheaply; class at every position.

  61. Erik says:

    This sums it up the best I’ve ever seen. Bravo

  62. Erik says:

    It’s easy to make passes when they are 1-2 yards around you all the time…

  63. Erik says:

    I’m sorry, but the USA and Switzerland strategy was what it was because the players aren’t very good compared to Spain…

    Germany has too much talent to have to play that way and should have just gone straight at them from the start.

  64. RK says:

    No, but the name Kaiser would have.

  65. RK says:

    I love watching Spain. The only thing I hate is Iniesta on the 18 — he can’t figure out what to do. But other than that, they are a joy to watch and the definition of intelligent, beautiful, controlling soccer.

  66. Eric B says:

    Right on! You watch the 50/50 balls and Spain was winning most of them, going after them with passion. I think having Mueller playing would have made a big difference, and I’m impressed with how well Germany did. But Spain looked like they wanted to win more, and their pass work is amazing to watch.

    The final should be one for the ages!

  67. Eric B says:


  68. Eric B says:

    “Germany are a good young side who weren’t mentally focussed or aggressive enough to beat a quality Spanish side.”


  69. Scarlet says:

    What diving are you talking about in the game against Germany ?? That was one of the most free flowing games I have watched this WC. This game had probably the fewest fouls of any kind this whole tournament. I don’t understand how anyone thinks it was boring either. Spain not only kept good possession but they had numerous goal scoring opportunities that Germany was able to stop. The game was brilliant and I think the better team won !!

  70. Nats says:

    Consistently throughout the tournament, little Spanish players fall to the ground when they are challenged. Their style of play is slow, plodding, boring, and pointless. They’ve been eeking out 1-0 wins. I’d like to see a team get physical with them without the ref bailing them out with cheap fouls.

  71. IDman says:

    Bow down and kiss my boots…you novice.

  72. IDman says: