Germany vs. Spain, Moses Mabhida Stadium Durban, South Africa 2:30 PM EST Wednesday July 7, 2010 on ESPN
by Jason Green, World Cup Soccer Handicapper, Predictem.com
Match Odds: Germany 2.65 / Spain 2.60 / Draw 3.30
Over/Under: 2.5 goals
Moneyline: Germany +145 / Spain +175 / Draw +230
In a sweet World Cup semifinals match up Spain takes on 3-time champion Germany. Spain got the “can’t win the big one” monkey off their back by winning the 2008 European Championships, but they have not had much luck in the World Cup. Their best showing at the World Cup is a 4th place finish and that was way back in 1950.
Germany has won the World Cup 3 times with the most recent title coming in 1990 and they have been the runner up 4 times. They come into the semifinals simply en fuego, as they have scored 8 goals total in the playoffs and have only conceded 1 goal.
While Spain is in the semis their supposed dynamic offense has been anything but, as in their 2 playoff wins they have won by a score of 1-0 both times.
In their quarterfinal wins on Saturday Germany beat Argentina 4-0 and Spain beat Paraguay 1-0.
Spain did not have one shot on target in the first half against Paraguay, but when Fernando Torres was subbed out their offense showed some life. In the second half they had quite a few chances to score, but only came away with one goal. They will have to take advantage of their scoring chances against Germany and their stingy defense.
Germany played a stellar game in blanking Argentina 4-0, especially on defense. The Germans held Argentina and their solid offense scoreless and frustrated the Argentine strikers all match long. They will have to do the same against Spain, especially on David Villa, who leads all players with 5 goals scored in the World Cup and scoring both goals for Spain in the playoffs.
Spain striker Fernando Torres has not played well in the World Cup and the superstar has looked out of sync the whole tournament. He was subbed out for Cesc Fabregas in the match against Paraguay and Fabregas will likely get the start up front against Germany.
Germany Recent Form:
7/3/2010 Germany 4 Argentina 0 (World Cup)
6/27/2010 Germany 4 England 1 (World Cup)
6/23/2010 Germany 1 Ghana 0 (World Cup)
6/18/2010 Germany 0 Serbia 1 (World Cup)
6/13/2010 Germany 4 Australia 0 (World Cup)
Spain Recent Form:
7/3/2010 Spain 1 Paraguay 0 (World Cup)
6/29/2010 Spain 1 Portugal 0 (World Cup)
6/25/2010 Spain 2 Chile 1 (World Cup)
6/21/2010 Spain 2 Honduras 0 (World Cup)
Germany striker Thomas Muller is out for this match picking up another yellow card in the match against Argentina. He has been the unlikely star for the Germans in the World Cup scoring 4 goals and has 3 assists.
With Muller out Miroslav Klose and Mesut Oezil have to step up and provide Germany with some offense. Germany plays such a great team game and is so solid in the midfield and on the counter-attack that these guys will be given the chance to score and one of them will do so against Spain.
MF Bastian Schweinsteiger has been stellar for Germany in the World Cup and he will have to play good defense and spurn the counter-attack against Spain. He scored the first goal against Argentina and he will either score a goal or assist on a goal, or both, against Spain.
A key battle in this match will be between the MF’s of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Spain’s Xavi Alonso. Each is the creative spark in the midfield for their respective teams and the player that wins this match up will give their team more chances to score.
Spain G Iker Casillas has been solid in the World Cup and has a clean sheet in the 2 playoff matches. However, that streak will end in this match, as he will not keep Germany from scoring.
Spain will push forward on offense the whole match, but they really have to be wary of the Germany counter-attack, which is one of their strengths.
Jason’s Pick to Win: Germany is on fire and they will continue their great play in this match. They will play just like they did in the quarterfinals, as they will play lock down defense and score when given the chance. Germany will win this game by a score of 2-1 of 2-0 and advance to the finals.