Puyol’s header enough to advance Spain to first World Cup final

July 7, 2010

“Spain outplayed Germany yet again. And now the Spanish have the biggest prize of all within their sights. Spain will play for the World Cup title for the very first time, thanks to Carles Puyol’s goal on a powerful header in the second half Wednesday night. The 1-0 victory over Germany was a repeat of the teams’ meeting in the European Championship final two years ago, which gave Spain its first major title in 44 years.” (ESPN)

World Cup 2010: Germany 0-1 Spain
“Two years is not a long time in football, especially when you consider that national sides evolve, certainly more than club sides. In that respect, you would have expected quite a few rematches from European Championship finals happening in subsequent World Cups. However, of the twenty-six finalists in the first thirteen European Championships, six of them have failed to qualify (including Czecholslovakia Denmark and Greece, who were European Championships), and three others have failed to get out of the group stages.” (twohundredpercent)

Germany 0-1 Spain – Video Highlights, Recap, and Match Stats – World Cup – 7 July 2010
“Germany faced Spain with a spot in the 2010 FIFA World Cup finals on the line. The winner would face the Netherlands in the final on Sunday while the loser would play Uruguay in the third place match on Saturday.” (The 90th Minute)


Homage to Catalonia

July 7, 2010

“There’s no doubt that Germany looked magisterial against Argentina. Late last year, I watched a team pummel Diego Maradona’s team in similar fashion. They ran all over them with astonishing ease, making them look like a third division team on the brink of the brink of relegation. This was a particularly low moment for Maradona, the winter when his team was more messy than Messi. Still, the side that beat them clearly possessed players of superior quality. That was last December when the albiceleste ventured into Barcelona’s Nou Camp. They left the stadium that day defeated 4-2. The team that thrashed Maradona’s men didn’t qualify for the World Cup. In fact, it can’t. FIFA won’t let it. But anyone who has paid attention to this tournament knows its best players well.” (TNR)

Against the Underdog

July 7, 2010

“During the quarterfinal between Uruguay and Ghana, maybe a little bit before it started, I had a somewhat startling realization. I didn’t care if Ghana won. I was aware that I should want Ghana to win, and that was fine, but it didn’t really resonate with me emotionally. In the next day’s match between Spain and Paraguay, I could sense a very real antipathy towards the Albirroja. As if they were somehow disturbing the natural order of things by holding Spain goalless for the balance of the match. This has led me to believe that, horror of horrors, I don’t really like an underdog.” (Run of Play)

Spain optimistic despite facing their toughest game

July 7, 2010

“Confidence in Spain’s World Cup hopes has been fragile ever since Gelson Fernandes bundled home Switzerland’s winner in their opening group game. Concern at their lack of fluidity has expressed itself in the form of debates about tactics and personnel, the latest of them revolving around Fernando Torres’ misfortunes in front of goal. Yet since Saturday’s nervy win over Paraguay that faith has suddenly returned, a strange turn of events considering the identity of Spain’s semi-final opponents, the form team of the tournament.” (WSC)

Germany v Spain: tactical preview

July 7, 2010

“The pre-tournament favourites versus the most impressive team in the competition so far. A repeat of the 2008 European Championships final it may be, but this is completely different contest. For a start, David Villa and Mesut Ozil – the two star men – were not involved two years ago. Of the Germans, only Miroslav Klose, Per Mertesacker and Lukas Podolski remain in the same positions from that final, whilst Spain will start with a different formation to in 2008, even the side contains a number of the same players.” (Zonal Marking)

Holland 3-2 Uruguay: fortune favours the brave

July 7, 2010

“Holland progress – they shaded the contest, and took the initiative to try and win the game by throwing on an extra attacking player at half-time. Both teams named the expected starting XIs, and both set out broadly as predicted in the preview. Uruguay’s midfield was a cross between a standard four-man system and a diamond, with Walter Gargano playing much further up the pitch than we are used to seeing him. Alvaro Pereira stayed wide, whilst Diego Perez played a reserved role on the right.” (Zonal Marking)

Why We Rooted for the U.S.

July 7, 2010

“Hua’s note: Weeks ago, the casual World Cup watcher did not need a principled reason to back the team in green over the team in blue. A friend who once studied abroad in Paraguay and had a good time? The enthusiasms of an affable, French-speaking cabbie? Backing Mexico to circuitously spite Arizona? Your grandfather’s love of Pele, your other grandfather’s experience in the war? Or maybe you think Kasabian >>>> Oasis. Each were noble enough reasons for the quadrennial football fan to jump online and shop for a replica jersey late at night.” (The Atlantic)