Hi there. I'm Guido, Bleacher Report writer, and I will be your guide through this crucial semi-final match between Spain and Germany.
Both teams were favorites for the title at the start of the tournament, though Spain were probably tipped more often than Germany. Now, the tables seem to have turned somewhat, as Spain seemed unimaginative at times, whereas Germany blitzed their way past England and Argentina rather convincingly.
This match will determine who will play the Dutch in the final on Sunday. Will Spain go all the way and become the second nation after France to hold both the European and World title at the same time? Or will Germany go for a repeat of the 1974 World Cup final in a local rivalry with the Dutch?
So, if you can’t get to a TV, why not follow all the drama and excitement right here on Bleacher Report? Join the conversation and banter by posting your comments below the article; I promise to respond within minutes.
That's it, Octopus Paul predicted the match correctly, Spain beat Germany and the we're set for a Holland versus Spain final on Sunday.
Spain have got it in the bag (90+3 minutes)
Germany have tried and fought hard, but they never created any real chances. Spain surely have this in the bag.
Germany tries to force a decision through physique (87 minutes into the game)
The Germans are trying to force a decision with long balls towards their powerful strikers, but the Spanish are having none of that so far. Spain is getting more and more space in behind the German defence, but they haven't been able to knock-out the Germans.
Second Spanish substitution (84 minutes into the game)
Pedro comes off and Silva comes on. Hang your head in shame, boy... You should have decided this game already.
Pedro is a selfish little ... (82 minutes into the game)
Spain benefit from the space Germany is giving away with a deadly counter-attack, which ultimately proved to be harmless because Pedro was much too selfish instead of passing it to Fernando Torres, who was wide open. Idiot! This could prove costly if the Germans force in a late equaliser and since this is Germany, that could very well happen.
Third substitution for Germany, first for Spain (81 minutes into the game)
Sami Khedira comes off and is replaced by Mario Gomez. This could lead to more space for Spain and Del Bosque responds by replacing David Villa and bringing on Fernando Torres.
Spain looking lethal on the break (80 minutes into the game)
Spain are looking absolutely lethal when they are allowed to break away. Villa skinned Friedrich there, before being stopped by Per Mertesacker.
Germany desperate for a goal (78 minutes into the game)
Germany need a goal, but they haven't created any real chances. Spain are harassing the German build-up from the back, which effectively minimises the German threat. Apart from the odd effort down the wing, Germany has not created much.
Puyol scores!!! (73 minutes into the game)
Despite all their tall defenders, Germany allow Carles Puyol enough space to head in the first goal of the game. Puyol is completely unmarked and heads a corner past Manuel Neuer. Lovely header.
The game is starting to pick up momentum (72 minutes into the game)
It could be the fatigue, but more space is opening up on either end, though neither side has managed to exploit this. At least it creates for a bit more excitement.
Germany nearly hit the Spanish on the break (68 minutes into the game)
Nice attack down the left side, Podolski crosses it and Kroos forces a nice save out of Casillas. Never count the Germans until after the final whistle.
Second substitution (62 minutes into the game)
Toni Kroos replaces Piotr Trochowski, which probably means Löw is bringing on a player whose style resembles that of Thomas Müller a bit more.
Lineker's words should act as a warning for Spain (60 minutes into the game)
Gary Lineker said it before, "Football is a simple game; 22 men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win." When you keep missing chances, you're always going to end up conceding to a German side. It's a fact of life.
Still lacking the final ball (58 minutes into the game)
Another lovely Spanish attack, smothered by the Germans. Backheel-pass sends Iniesta through on goal, who crosses it in low, but no-one is open at the far post to tap in the opening goal. Germany's defence got opened up there, but the final ball was, as so often before, lacking.
Germany contained within their own half (56 minutes into the game)
The second half started okay, but it went dull now. The Germans are restricted to passing it around in their own half, whereas Spain are still lacking that final pass to breach the German defence.
First substitution (52 minutes into the game)
Jerome Boateng is replaced by Marcell Jansen. I guess Löw wants to contain the danger coming from that Spanish right flank.
Xabi Alonso blasts it wide (50 minutes into the game)
A second shot from the edge of the box by Xabi Alonso, as the Real Madrid player again misses the target. Now this is more like it.
Lovely dribble by Pedro (49 minutes into the game)
That was a sublime dribble by Barcelona's Pedro, who drove two Germans completely mad there with a lovely run. Shame Xabi Alonso missed his shot.
Germany got into trouble because Khedira failed to pick up his marker there, which shows another Achilles' heel of this German squad. When one player fails, the team gets into trouble.
Quit the fore-play and get on with it! (46 minutes into the game)
Kick-off for the second half. This game needs a goal.
Mrs. Guido says that half an hour of fore-play is enough to get her in the mood. Germany and Spain took 45 minutes so far... We're all in the mood now, get on with it!
The match has been a bit slow so far, it never quite good going, but the first half showed us a few glimpses of what could have been.
Some intricate passing by the Spanish, as well as intelligent movement off the ball by Pedro, Ramos and Villa. If they manage to link up more, they could cause the Germans more trouble.
The Germans are not that bothered though, as they usually manage to clear the ball in the end, because Spain's final ball is lacking (again), which is a bit symptomatic for Spain during this World Cup.
Germany meanwhile have not had any real chances, but they look dangerous when they can move into space on the breakaway. Spain should be careful not to give away too much space to the Germans.
Razor-sharp German counter-attack ends with an Özil dive (45+1 minutes into the game)
Germany got a chance to do what they do best, launch a devastating counter-attack towards the Spanish goal, where Klose sends Özil through on goal, but the German midfielder trips as soon as Ramos makes a bit of physical contact. Never a penalty that.
Ramos the right winger (43 minutes into the game)
Sergio Ramos is acting as an extra forward so far, moving forward a lot and trying to cross the ball for his forwards. Shame most of them are not very tall and the German defenders are.
Nice back-heel flick! (40 minutes into the game)
Lovely bit of skill by Boateng there, who flicked the ball past Sergio Ramos with an intricate backheel play. Shame he didn't manage to get past Ramos as well to collect the ball.
Germany's improving it's style of play (36 minutes into the game)
The German's are getting better, they're using their physical strength to dominate the duels and they've played a bit more aggressive so far.
Trochowski's long range effort saved by Casillas (32 minutes into the game)
Nice long range effort by Trochowski, who probably saw Van Bronckhorst and Forlan score in similar fashion yesterday. Trochowski's low drive was saved by Casillas though.
Half an hour into the game, when is the foreplay ending? (30 minutes into thegame)
Pardon the reference, but this match so far is like foreplay. Teasing, showing glimpses of its true potential, but there's little or no action so far.
Dirty foul by Sergio Ramos on Lukas Podolski (27 minutes into the game)
Sergio Ramos puts his studs on Podolski's left foot. Professional foul, but uncalled for. It was deep in the German half, so there was no need for such a foul.
Spain's intricate passing is dominating over Germany's counter-attacking (25 minutes into the game)
The Spaniards are dominating so far, their clever passing appears to be more effective than the German style of play, which is slightly more physical and based on fast break-aways.
Lovely little setup by Spain (21 minutes into the game)
Nice attack by Spain down the left flank, but since Iniesta is not a natural left-footed player, he couldn't get a cross in, which allowed Germany to clear the ball. Still, a nice attack.
Ramos bombs forward again (19 minutes into the game)
Sergio Ramos is allowed a lot of space to run forward by Podolski. In this instance, there was no-one available for a cross and Ramos' shot missed the target by a considerable distance.
Germany's aerial threat (16 minutes into the game)
The German defenders might be slow, but they're also tall and powerful. Combine that with the fact that Casillas has looked insecure dealing with high crosses all tournament long, and you can explain why Del Bosque was not pleased when Pique gave away a cheap corner.
Ramos not afraid to move forward leads to a Spanish opportunity (14 minutes into the game)
Earlier, in my pre-match analysis, I predicted the bravery of a back to move forward could tip the scales in favour of either side. Sergio Ramos just moved forward and pressured Boateng into conceding a corner, which in turn gave Puyol a chance to open the score, but his header missed the target. The runs forward could be decisive.
Mertesacker and Friedrich nearly caught by a Spanish pass (12 minutes into the game)
I'd like to repeat my previous point. Spain's more mobile forwards are causing heaps of trouble for the slow German defenders so far.
Villa's clever runs could spell disaster for Germany (10 minutes into the match)
David Villa is basically doing what Fernando Torres should have been doing. He makes clever runs behind the defence, making him a target for cheeky crosses or intelligent through-balls. Since the German centre-backs are not very mobile, this could lead to trouble for the Germans, unless they manage to shut down the supply towards Villa.
Neuer saves Germany early on (7 minutes into the match)
Clever through-ball by Pedro there, Villa got in behind the defenders, but Neuer rushed from his line and saved the close-range effort.
Some nutter enters the pitch (5 minutes into the match)
Hehe, some numptie with a vuvuzela just ran onto the match. Kudos to the South African police, they ushered him off in under 20 seconds. Well done!
Nothing exciting early on (4 minutes into the match)
It would appear both sides are testing each others strength.
And we're off! (kick-off)
Hoping for a good game!
Paul predicts a Spanish win (2 minutes before kick-off)
Paul the Octopus predicted a Spanish win. Paul has gained a sizable following in Germany by amassing a perfect 4-0 record in calling Germany’s World Cup clashes. First, he tipped Germany to beat Australia, and then followed it up by correctly predicting Serbia’s upset over Germany. Paul went on to call a German win against Ghana and made waves across the English Channel when he foresaw Germany taking down England and predicted Germany's win over Argentina. Paul now predicts a win for Spain.
Löw's sweater (4 minutes before kick-off)
Okay, I just heard about this. Joachim Löw is wearing a blue sweater, apparently the same one he wore against Argentina and England. His played said he couldn't wash the thing, for good luck... Superstitious lot.
Des Bosque looks like my grandfather (6 minutes before kick-off)
Not really match related... I just noticed Del Bosque looks like my grandfather when he was younger. Same moustache and all. Didn't know I had Spanish roots, hehe...
Both sides are playing in similar formations, assuming the line-ups I got off the internet are correct. Both sides have a very direct attacking winger on the left, but a player who cuts inside on the right wing, which allows space for the right-back to bomb forward. Also, both sides have a set of three central midfielders, all with creative tendencies.
The battle between the left wingers and the right-backs could be interesting. Neither Podolski nor Pedro are players who like to track back, whilst Lahm and Sergio Ramos usually go forward when they get the chance. Will the backs be brave enough to move forward, leaving their marker for one of the centre-backs?
All in all, the match will be decided in midfield. The backs going forward could tip the balance in favour of either side, as both teams have a sublime central midfield. Sergio Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta and Xabi Alonso form an impressive set, but Germany's Özil, Schweinsteiger and Khedira have been in good form as well.
Löw's key decision is how to set about combatting this midfield. He could opt for a defence á la Switzerland, lying deep and absorb the pressure. He could also try to do what Paraguay did, try to disrupt the build-up from the back by harassing Busquets and Alonso. Finally, he could opt for a style á la Chile, pressing all over the place.
Each style has it's own advantages and disadvantages and what-ever Löw decides will be crucial for the way this game will unfold.
His collegue Del Bosque meanwhile has to figure out what to do about Mesut Özil, who plays between the lines. Del Bosque either has to sacrifice one of his holding midfielders, who then has to track Özil, or he has to allow the centre-backs the time to deal with Özil, which would mean Özil can play in between the lines.
This game is too close to call for me in advance, so let's just hope for a classic game!
[ 4-2-3-1 ]
[ 4-2-3-1 ]
Germany Preview; Only Minor Changes in the German Lineup
Germany's manager Joachim Löw is presented with only a single player missing. Thomas Müller picked up a second yellow card against Argentina and will be suspended in tonight's semi-final encounter with the Iberians.
He will most likely be replaced by HSV's Piotr Trochowski, though Löw could opt for a formation with Leverkusen starlet Toni Kroos on the right wing. Trochowski is a real winger, which could limit the amount of space Lahm gets for his forward runs, so fielding a more roaming player Kroos, who cuts inside like Müller, would make sense.
Spain Preview; Liverpool's Boy Wonder to be Benched?
I've said it before in one of my earlier live blogs: Fernando Torres does not look fit and is not playing well. Earlier in the tournament, Spain played much better with Llorente, rather than Torres, up front.
Del Bosque's patience must be running out and with such an importance match to play, he could just push Villa into the central forward role, opting for either Silva or Pedro on the left wing.