2010 FIFA World Cup: Spain vs. Germany Semifinals Predicitons

Ron FurlongAnalyst IIJuly 4, 2010

BERLIN - JULY 03:  German football supporters watch the 2010 FIFA World Cup quarter final match between Germany and Argentina at a live public viewing on a large screen monitor at FIFA Fanmeile on July 3, 2010 in Berlin, Germany.  (Photo by Matthias Kern/Getty Images)
Matthias Kern/Getty Images

It would be difficult to bet against the young German side right now. They are, in no uncertain terms, on a roll.

Before the World Cup began, you might have thought someone crazy if he had said that Spain and Germany would meet in the semifinals and Germany would be favored.

Yet, anyone who has watched the last few weeks unfold would have to say the Germans are playing the best football in the world right now. They are maturing and coming together right before our eyes.

Spain, meanwhile, has done everything asked of them. Here they are in the semifinals, standing tall, one game away from playing for the world championship, yet...You can't help but think they just haven't really clicked.

Spain comes in off a 1-0 victory on Saturday in the quarterfinals over Paraguay—a game that was much harder than it should have been.

You have to wonder where Spain would be without David Villa. Villa scored the winner versus Paraguay in the 83rd minute. Villa's fifth of the tournament gave him the World Cup goal scoring lead, but he could care less right now about a golden boot. He wants the cup.

The shot, a rebound, hit the right post then over to the left post and somehow went into the net. A wild goal ending a wild game.

"He's at the top of his form," Spain coach Vicente del Bosque said in the press conference after the game. "He's first to the ball every time. Villa had that hunger for the goal that allowed him to convert."

Germany needed no such strange bounces of the ball to get past Argentina. Their 4-0 thumping of the South American squad in the quarterfinals followed a 4-1 win over England in the round of 16.

Not bad for a couple of games versus two of the top 10 clubs in the world.

German coach Joachim Loew is being careful not to get too excited yet.

"It's important that we should not emotionally overreact," he said after the victory in his press conference.

Indeed, the Germans seemed quite subdued and composed after the game.

For Spain, it is their first trip to the semifinals of the World Cup. Germany is making their third straight trip to the semis, and 12th overall (including their record as West Germany), although they haven't won a title since 1990.

Spain beat Germany two years ago in the 2008 Euro final, 1-0. Fernando Torres netted the game's only goal.

Spain's Cesc Fabregas knows this game with Germany will be difficult. Following the victory over Paraguay he told BBC Sport , "It feels good, but there is nothing done yet. We know from the past that getting into the semifinal is nothing if you don't reach the final or win.

"We are happy because it has been a difficult game but we want to improve and get into the final. We have watched the game this afternoon (Germany and Argentina) and they played really well.

"It will be very difficult because I think they are definitely one of the best teams at the tournament. We just have to play very positive and be at our best if we want to beat them.''

This German club, like many German clubs of the past, is efficient and disciplined. But they have also found an ability to attack ruthlessly. Although they held less possession versus Argentina and had fewer shots, they had almost all of the games quality scoring chances, showing an ability to attack at will, especially on the counter once they got a two-goal lead.

This may serve them well versus Spain as it did against Argentina.

Spain is perhaps a more patient team than Argentina, and may not fall as easily into this trap. They will hold possession more than Germany, but they will not risk as much as the South American club did.

They will rely heavily on the patience and excellence of Xavi, distributing balls and looking for a weakness in the German back. Germany has not played great defensively in this tournament until the Argentina game and perhaps earlier, versus Australia.

Germany is unlikely to score four goals against Spain, as they have in their last two games versus Argentina and England, and in an earlier game against Australia. Spain's back four is too good and their midfielders will control the play too much.

Germany will key on getting Xavi to get rid of the ball quicker than he wants and trying to keep David Villa out of scoring position.

Spain will have to key on Miroslav Klose and his ability to put the ball in the net. Klose, with two goals in the Argentina game, now has 14 career World Cup goals. Only Ronaldo's 15 are more in the history of the World Cup.

Thomas Muller will miss the game for Germany after picking up his second yellow card in the match with Argentina.

The game will be played on Wednesday at Durban Stadium.

Prediction: Germany 2, Spain 2. Spain wins in PKs.