Spanish Armada sets sail for World Cup final
Durban: Spain defeated Germany 1 – 0 to advance to the FIFA World Cup 2010 final for the first time ever. Spain’s decades long dream to hold the title came a step closer to materialise as they set up the final showdown with The Netherlands on Sunday.
Carlos Puyol had headed the goal of immortality in the 73rd minute, giving Spain the vital breakthrough. The goal came as Iniesta earned a corner for Spain, Xavi floated it in and Puyol headed the ball into the Germany net. It is the first time that Spain entered the final of the biggest tournament of football.
Germany were smothered as Spain teased them and toyed them with their passing skills and it was just a matter of time before the first blow came with just 16 minutes on the clock to have an equaliser.
Germany had made two substitutions by the sixty fourth minute and the last man in was Toni Kroos who replaced Piotr Trochowski. The team looked somewhat out of their touch and speed as the ball possession was dominated by the Spanish outfit for most parts.
The game was painfully tied 0 - 0 at half-time as Villa and Co. dominated the field for most part of the first forty five minutes. Germany `played` at intervals but they looked very dangerous when they did so.
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.
Spain were on top of their game of silky touches as Xavi and Villa tried making inroads into the tight German defence. A deft touch here and a classy cut there ensured that the Germans could not do the equaliser trick.
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.
The high intensity match began with both the outfits going for the kill right from the word go. Tipped by many as the ‘true final’ of the tournament, the air was abuzz with excitement. Philip Lahm did try to lead by example but the lack of some timely aggression was their demise.
Spain`s best previous World Cup finish was fourth in 1950, when the final round consisted of a four-team round-robin format.
In Sunday`s final in Soccer City, Spain will meet the Netherlands, which also has never won soccer`s biggest prize.