Spain edge past Germany to reach first World Cup final

Kieran Beckles
By Kieran Beckles
vincente del bosque

vincente del bosque

Spain reached their first World Cup final with a slender 1-0 victory over Germany in Durban.

In a closely-contested match, Vincente del Bosque’s side eventually converted their superior possession into an historic victory courtesy of a powerful headed goal by Carles Puyol.

It marks the biggest chapter in Spain’s history and they will now face the Netherlands on Sunday night, with neither teams having previously lifted the World Cup trophy.

Spain dominated the midfield on the night as the quartet of Xabi Alonso, Xavi, Andrés Iniesta and Pedro looked for routes past the stout German defenders.

Germany’s Bastian Schweinsteiger desperately tried to make his presence in midfield felt but was left frustrated and Mesut Özil’s trademark trickery was largely limited by an attentive Spanish defence.

The German counter-attacks which had led to destructions of Argentina and England were kept to a minimum, perhaps hampered by the absence of the suspended Thomas Müller. Miroslav Klose was never really granted the opportunity to equal Ronaldo’s World Cup goal record.

Spain’s grip on the match tightened in the second half.

A dangerous run by Pedro on the right caused disarray amongst the German rearguard as the young Barcelona forward slid a pass to Alonso. The midfielder dragged his effort wide and moments later a second attempt forced Neuer into a save.

Spain then continued to exert pressure on the buckling German defence.

This time Pedro and Alonso combined to slot in Iniesta on the right wing. The Barcelona midfielder raced to the touchline before delivering a low ball across the six-yard box which sped agonisingly past David Villa’s outstretched boot.

For a team who play slick passing football, it was somewhat ironic that Spain’s winner came from a set piece. Xavi’s corner was met by the brave Puyol who sent a ferocious header crashing into the net.

It proved decisive as the Germans failed to muster the energy to mount a resurgence with only two shots on goal during the entire 90 minutes.

German fans will claim they were denied two penalties by referee Viktor Kassai. The first incident came at the end of the first half when Özil appeared to be clipped by Sergio Ramos, the second when Schweinsteiger was felled by Puyol. Both were waved away by Hungarian official.

As the final whistle approached, only selfish play from Pedro denied substitute Fernando Torres the opportunity to cement the victory but fortunately his hesitation proved irrelevant.

Spain were deserved victors and the purists have been rewarded with a final boasting two of international football’s most exciting sides.

MORE:

MORE: The latest football transfer news

OUR PICK: Discover the top 5 best fat burner supplements

MORE: Meet the Premier League's most stylish footballers

MORE: Do you know the top Muslim footballers in the Premier League?

MORE: Man United latest news

MORE: Arsenal latest news

MORE: Chelsea latest news

MORE: Liverpool latest news

The Sport Review
Guillem Balague sends message to Liverpool fans about Philippe Coutinho
The Sport Review
Top 50 most stylish footballers in the world in 2017: Arsenal, Man United, Chelsea, Liverpool stars feature
The Sport Review
Top 40 Muslim footballers: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Man United stars feature
The Sport Review
Top 25 footballers’ cars: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Real Madrid players feature
The Sport Review
Top 20 Nigerian footballers in Premier League: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool stars feature
The Sport Review
Arsenal player wages 2017: Do you know how much Xhaka, Ozil and Coquelin earn each week?
The Sport Review
Jamie Redknapp sends warning to Man United about title challenge
The Sport Review
Frank Lampard predicts where Arsenal, Liverpool will finish this season
The Sport Review
Steve McManaman picks between Man United and Man City this season