Day 23 of the
Barcelona central defender Carles Puyol scored the only goal of a tight and tactical semi-final to help Spain defeat Germany 1-0 and reach the World Cup final for the very first time.
Spanish Head Coach Vicente Del Bosque decided to drop the under fire Fernando Torres, replacing him with Barcelona youngster Pedro, while Germany brought Piotr Trochowski into their starting XI in place of the suspended Thomas Muller.
The opening minutes were dominated by Spain, Pedro particularly starting brightly, threading a ball through to David Villa who was denied by the alert Manuel Neuer in the German goal.
Despite dictating the play throughout the opening period, Spain had to be wary of the German counter-attack that had been used to devastating effect against England and Argentina. Germany’s best chance of the first half came on 32 minutes, Trochowski trying his luck from the edge of the area and forcing Iker Casillas into a sprawling stop down to his left to keep the scores level at the break.
The second half saw Spain once again dominating possession but only had two long range efforts from Xabi Alonso to show for it as Germany remained well organised.
Germany could have taken the lead against the run of play on 69 minutes, substitute Toni Kroos scuffing his volley straight at Iker Casillas, having been found unmarked at the far post by Lukas Podolski.
Just four minutes later, Spain would deservedly open the scoring. Carlos Puyol leaping highest to power home Xavi’s corner and give Spain the advantage with just 17 minutes left to play.
With the emphasis now on Germany to find an equaliser, they seemed to run out of ideas and Spain should have sealed their place in the final when Pedro and Fernando Torres were two-on-one just outside the German penalty area, Pedro selfishly went to go alone and the move broke down much to the frustrations of Torres and his colleagues.
Despite throwing bodies forward, Germany failed to trouble Casillas in the closing stages and Spain held on to set up a World Cup final clash with the Netherlands, guaranteeing a new name will be on the trophy come Sunday night.