Wednesday’s semifinal game features a rematch of the EURO 2008 final, in which Spain beat Germany 1-0. Fernando Torres scored the goal in the 33rd minute at Ernst Happel Stadium in Vienna, Austria.
It was only Torres’ second goal of the tournament that got Spain the title in 2008, while David Villa was the team’s top scorer with four tallies. The World Cup so far has gone similar in terms of scoring for the Spanish. Villa has the most goals of the tournament at five. Torres has yet to score.
Germany has the most goals of any team in the World Cup, after scoring four times in three different matches. They beat Australia and Argentina 4-0, and took care of England 4-1. Miroslav Klose and Thomas Mueller have four goals each.
While the Nationalmannschaft has surprised at the offensive end, it has shown that it can defend as well. Joachim Loew’s players shut down Argentina’s attack for 90 minutes and were lethal on the counterattack.
They will miss Mueller in the semifinal, due to a suspension after the 20-year-old received his second yellow card of the tournament in Germany’s win over Argentina. Mueller has been an important piece in Germany’s success. He has played well in all areas of the game, and the German side will have to make up for his absence.
Toni Kroos or Piotr Trochowski will most likely step in and Cacau is available again, too.
Spain will most likely try to stay with its possession game and find holes in the German defense. After their initial loss to Switzerland they have shown that they can crack tough defenses and succeed by being patient.
They might face their toughest test yet in Germany, because they have to deal with the strong counterattack. While Switzerland scored on Spain’s defense and beat the European champions, the Red Fury hasn’t faced as strong an attack as Germany’s.
Paraguay came close to scoring and Portugal didn’t look like it was even trying to score against the Spanish. Chile was able to score against Spain in the group stage with its quick players. The German side has some speedsters on its side as well, most notably young Mesut Oezil who has sparked the German attack throughout the tournament.
Spanish midfielder Cesc Fabregas injured his right leg in practice Monday, but will most likely play against the Germans. Tests revealed that there is no bone damage, but it is unclear if he will be 100% Wednesday.
Fabregas had fractured a bone in his right leg in March, and hasn’t played a full game at the World Cup yet. After a strong performance as a substitute for Torres in Spain’s quarterfinal victory over Paraguay, he was considered to start against Germany.
Spain’s center back Carles Puyol might miss the match due to an injury. He would be replaced by experienced defender Carlos Marchena.
Germany’s midfield has arguably been the best in the tournament, with Oezil and Bastian Schweinsteiger playing the best soccer of their lives. They could break down the Spanish defense as well with their quick transition from defense to the counterattack.
This will be a close match with Spain trying to control the pace with their passing game and Germany looking to score on the counterattack. I think Germany will come through in the end, but it is hard to say if they will win in regulation or if the match will go into extra time or penalties.
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