Semifinal number 2 – Germany versus Spain

The greatest beneficiary to Ballacks injury, the Pig Boss is finally playing to the abilities everyone expected him to 4 years ago.

Spain versus the freaky deaky Dutch…what a final!


Paul’s streak is still on as he screws the Mannschaft with his long tentacles. We WILL have a new world cup winner.

3 minutes of extra time

89:00 – Torres showing a bit of skill but he’s still missing a step or two…well done Rafa.

86:00 – Tubbs and Crockett seemed to have pipped down a bit after I corrected them on why a play 30 minutes earlier was not offside. Luckily Martin Tyler agreed with me.

85:00 – Pedro off, Silva on.

82:00 – Pedro has a golden chance to make it two – zero as he could have shot or passed to a WIDE OPEN Torres… instead he chose to lose the ball. Torres must be screaming ” I’M NOT THAT COLD”

81:00 – The ladies and the odd man scream with joy as Torres comes on for the divine soul patch.

80:00 – Soothing chants of ole ole from the female contingent of Spanish fans…It’s like the sounds of sirens. Meanwhile Germany pressing forward. It’s actually moments like these when they need Ballack. YUP I said it.

75:00 – Well that was different then Spain’s usual method of attack. It was in the h(air)!

73:00 – GOOOOOOAAAALLLLL. PAU GASOL...I mean Puyol with a thumping header from a Xavi cross. Keeper had no chance. Spain 1 – Germany 0

69:00 – Santo Casillas has a great instinctive save from a Podolski volley. That was a lovely build up from Germany.

64:00 – The girls in the bar claim that both Sergio Ramos and Villa fix their hair at halftime.

61:00 – Numpty number 1 looks like the “can you hear me now” guy. Yes i’m going to hell.

58:00 –  Spain go close twice, the first is well saved by Neuer. The rebound comes to Iniesta who centers it but Villa’s sliding attempt misses the ball by inches. Two very close chances there. Germany come right back and win a corner.

51:00 – Stadler and Waldorf also claim that the US have never been awarded a penalty. Clearly Donovan scored against Ghana from the spot with no defenders on him. I feel for the third guy they are pumping all this information to.

50:00 – Alonso tries his luck from afar and goes close. He has been the closest to scoring. Numpty number one claims that Spain has one the world cup twice.

48:00 – Clowns behind me claim that the reason for winning the toss is to chose the side with which the wind is blowing in the second half. It doesn’t help that they have whiny voices.

Game is back on and Spain immediately on the attack.


46:00 – Uzil gets put through in the box but a combination of him getting his legs tangled up and Sergio Ramos knocking him over, stops the play. Ref correctly waves play on. That could have been construed as a penalty but it would be very soft.

45:00 – Pedro showing some foot skills but Boateng is not fooled and concedes a corner.

42:00 – Spain get a free kick and try something out of the training ground but it fails. Having to deal with Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum behind me giving me running commentary of useless and wrong facts.

32:00 – Trochowski, the shortest guy on the pitch by a good couple of inches, fires in a low drive that Casillas does well to parry out for a corner.

30:00 – Alonso does what Spain needs to do and that is shoot from afar. If they mix up their attacks they will win this world cup, but if they keep trying the same old thing, eventually they will be  figured out…see switzerland!

23:00 – Germany beginning to find their stride as they’re one touch passing is find the gaps and holes in the Spanish defense. It takes 4 to close down Klose.

21:00 – Spain’s constant attack is neutralizing Germany’s free flowing play. Problem is that Germany are leaving too many holes down the middle.

19:00 – Game is turning into a cagey affair. Who will make th ebig mistake first?

14:00 – Animal (Puyol) has a free diving header in the box but he heads it way overt the bar.

10:00 – Spain and Casillas living dangerously as their lackadaisical defense almost costs them

7:00 – Pedro passes to Villa who is clean through but Neuer does a great job of blocking the ball. These were the sort of holes that Spain is looking for that they didn’t get in their other games.

6:00 – Game is shaping up to how one expects. Spain controlling the ball and Germany waiting to pounce.

4:00 – And Ballack runs on the field with a Vuvuzella! Oh wait that was a fan. (thanks Hanson)

TWEEEEEEET they’re off.

Joachim Low has remnants of glitter on his face. Was he at da spankenhaus last night whooping it up?


Clearly Pique and Villa have the same hair stylist….and clearly Puyol has the same fashion consultant as Pau Gasol.


Schweinsteiger is playing his way to being in contention for the fifa player of the year!


As expected Torres is on the bench as Pedro takes his place.


Line ups

Spain: Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Pique, Puyol, Capdevila, Busquets, Alonso, Iniesta, Xavi, Pedro, Villa.
Subs: Valdes, Albiol, Marchena, Torres, Fabregas, Mata, Arbeloa, Llorente, Javi Martinez, Silva, Jesus Navas, Reina.

Germany:Neuer, Lahm, Friedrich, Mertesacker, Boateng, Khedira, Schweinsteiger, Trochowski, Ozil, Podolski, Klose.
Subs: Wiese, Jansen, Aogo, Tasci, Kiessling, Badstuber, Kroos, Cacau, Marin, Gomez, Butt.


Who does one root for. For some people their hearts say Germany but their hips say Spain. I’m not one of those people. I just want a good match.


This is the big one. As many a column has suggested the roles since 08 have been reversed. I think that’s a little extreme in that Germany play in a manner which will win them games. In the past few years that has required attacking, sexy football so gone is the stodgy efficiency of yore.

26 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by John on 2010/07/07 at 11:28 AM

    A Hungarian caught in the clash between Germany and Spain.


  2. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/07/07 at 11:38 AM

    Why would you ever invaded the pitch at the SF of the WC – in the 4th minute to boot? Somebody clearly can’t handle their Castle.


  3. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/07/07 at 11:59 AM

    This game needs a Spain goal. Maybe then Germany will actually try to come out and have some offense, rather than just hit on the break from Spanish set-pieces deep in their own last third.


    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/07/07 at 1:28 PM

      Glad that Germany’s negative tactics today did not get rewarded. The best team won.


      • Posted by sfshwebb on 2010/07/07 at 2:38 PM

        I disagree that they were negative tactics. Spain comes at you at full force that one would be stupid not too defend. There is a difference between parking the bus and being defensive. Germany had many attacking players out there and attacked when they could, but the Spanish onslaught is so great that one has to defend it before one can move forward.

        I think people love to get caught up in the medias perception that there is only attacking and negative defensive tactics. Parking the bus mentality comes before the kick off when you select a certain line up. Germany had the same line up minus Muller that they have had all through out the tournament. They defended when they needed too and attacked when they could. Spain naturally possess the ball so it was hard for Germany to attack but when they did they went for it.

        By your theory every team that plays Spain will play negatively cause they will spend most of their time defending.


        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/07/07 at 3:12 PM

          I understand that Spain’s ability to keep the ball is brilliant. If you look at Germany’s shape, they had a bank of four on their 18 yard box, and another 10 yards in front. And kept that shape for much of the game. Yes, the Spanish are very good at pressing and winning the ball back, especially with the two full backs pushing up effectively. But the task is that much easier when Klose does not have (m)any options when he does get the ball because Germany are content in keeping their defensive shape and don’t support him (or Ozil for that matter). It is like they are inviting the onslaught. I guess I was a little disappointed as this is the SF of the WC, not a WCQ match vs. Andorra, where I would expect such tactics.

          Oh, and just because you employ the same personel (minus the suspended Mueller), it does not mean the same tactics are utilised – and this game is a case in point.


        • Posted by sfshwebb on 2010/07/07 at 3:16 PM

          Maybe we choose to disagree cause I thought that up until the goal, Germany had the more dangerous and clear cut chances. All their forays forward were reminiscent of how they scored against Argentina and England. Spain’s back line was better than Germany’s previous opponents hence Germany not waltzing in and scoring.

          I believe the mentality was the same but based on their opponent the execution was not.


        • Posted by s44 on 2010/07/07 at 3:19 PM

          Puyol had the game’s best chance before he scored.


          • Posted by sfshwebb on 2010/07/07 at 3:22 PM

            Actually in reflection, Villa did…but Germany had more troubling shots on goal that Casillas had to save then Neuer did.


        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/07/07 at 3:26 PM

          I would say that Kroos’ chance was at least as good as Puyol’s first half chance. I still have no idea why he didn’t put his foot through the ball.

          Germany played on the counter when they had the lead, exploiting the space afforded to them by England and Argentina as they went forward – like Spain did today after they scored but were wasteful. But when the score was 0-0, it was not like that (2 banks of 4).

          Anyway, I am glad that Germany are out. Germany winning would have been my second worst nightmare.


        • Posted by John on 2010/07/07 at 3:42 PM

          I’d say that Germany’s performance was par for the course and exactly what I expected. Their big games came against teams who didn’t have a stellar defense and they struggled to score against teams that did.

          They went up 4 – 0 against Australia, 4 – 1 against England, 4 – 0 against Argentina. They struggled against Ghana in a game that Ghana had some decent chances (1 – 0), and they lost to Serbia 1 – 0 and Spain 1 – 0.

          Now they didn’t necessarily play poorly today, they created chances had some dangerous attacks and just didn’t finish.

          However, I thought that they would suffer today to attempt to play the same way against Spain that they did against Argentina, because in the game against Argentina (with their suspect back line) they got out in front of them early and were able to control the game.

          Puyol and Pique were not going to let free headers go in the box, and they shut down the service from Podloski.


        • Posted by s44 on 2010/07/07 at 3:49 PM

          Most teams should *mostly* defend against Spain, yes, but even we took the game to them more seriously last year.

          I think the Germans were too confident that they could strangle out a result either on PKs or a fluke counter. Despite some chances, counterattacking seemed more of an afterthought until desperation time. Spain choked down the lanes Oezil wanted to use to spring runners.


  4. Posted by s44 on 2010/07/07 at 12:27 PM

    If you’re running onto the field, shouldn’t you at least be naked?



  5. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/07/07 at 1:01 PM

    Great header by Puyol, probably a harder chance than the one he missed in the first half. But with the height the Germans have, how are they conceding from a set piece like that?

    Can Spain expolit the inevitable space that will appear in the last 15 minutes?


  6. Love the Stadler and Waldorf comment. Brilliance from Shaun. TSG should start contracting Shaun out to watch games and give his own brand of play-by-play to people.


  7. Mad props for the Muppet reference. And Del Bosque sounds like he could be a Muppet, that voice would make for a great animated character.


  8. Posted by antony on 2010/07/07 at 3:13 PM

    the USMNT needs to work the ball like the Spanish team,

    possession, possession, possession and creativity at their feet


    • Posted by s44 on 2010/07/07 at 3:41 PM

      We’re not Mexico. We beat teams who play like that.

      Spain isn’t great because they have the best style, Spain is great because they have super players who play best that way.


      • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/07/07 at 3:49 PM

        Yeah, they make it look easy but it is far from easy playing the way they do. I don’t think many teams in world football can play possession football like that.


        • Exactly right, George. In fact, they have out-Braziled Brazil. There isn’t another team with that combination of a possession midfield, tight back line, superb GK, and lethal forwards.

          This doesn’t mean that they aren’t vulnerable. We laid down the blueprint for how to beat them in the Confederations Cup semifinal.

          We can’t play that way, but don’t need to.


        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/07/08 at 3:43 AM

          I wouldn’t say blueprint Matt – you scored two goals (albeit fair and square) from two horrendous personal errors. Let’s not get carried away here.

          But if you’re talking about exploiting the space behind the FBs which ultimately pinned them back, then I agree.


  9. Way late as I had to watch the game after work. Priorities need to be straightened out.

    Is this the correct forum to declare my complete adoration for the tandem that is Iniesta and Xavi? The pure enjoyment that you get from watching Spain is almost the same as the world gets from Barcelona (7 starters from Barca started for Spain) and is down to these two as the engine.

    Lionel Messi has to be saying the same thing. How else would the difference between club and country be so stark for him? The answer is that against Argentina, teams play to deny him the ball because shutting him down on the ball has poor odds. At the club level, you can’t deny him the ball because you have two of the world’s best providing service. Teams can’t focus on denying Messi, Iniesta and Xavi the ball. These guys are on top of the game in a demure/classy way.


  10. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/07/08 at 4:00 AM

    On a side note, for all of the talk about how the 2009 Confederations Cup was advantageous to the teams competing, only Spain progressed past the QFs.


  11. Posted by Astrid on 2010/11/25 at 10:25 AM

    I know this post is very old, but I just wanted to ask: Do you realize that Schweinsteiger does not mean Pig Boss but Pig Climber? If not you’re welcome, if so you’re funny. And he IS boss anyway!
    Apart from that I really like your site, must be tough to be a Football Fan in the USA hm?

    Astrid (Bayern München Fan from Munich)


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