Puyol

What Happened

After dominating possession of the ball for most of the match, Carles Puyol scored a spectacular header for the game’s only goal on 73 minutes, as Spain deservedly beat Germany to head to the World Cup final against the Netherlands.

 

Notes from Joe

- Amazing Spain were that good at keeping the ball against a German team that’s so comfortable in possession themselves. Let’s not forget this Germany team beat England and Argentina so bad they basically made them cry, and they were completely tamed by the Spanish.

- Another outstanding game from Xavi, the conductor of the Spanish orchestra. Their entire game is based on keeping the ball, he he ensures it flows from one side of the pitch to another. He really knows how to create space for his teammates

- Ho hum, another clean sheet for Spain. They don’t get enough credit for their defending — probably because they always have the ball — but the way they packed the top of the box in numbers for the final ten minutes was very effective. They were also very cautious of the German counter-attacks, and were never really caught up field that badly.

- Thought Piotr Trochowski did okay in Thomas Muller’s spot, but obviously there was a drop-off in quality, Of course, Trochowski was also going up against competition that was tougher than Muller faced. Thought Toni Kroos provided more invention and quality delivery than Trochowski when he came on in the 62nd minute, though.

- Have to admit I was a bit disappointed to see Germany lose. Really fell in love with the way they played this tournament. A true team that worked so cohesively together with no egos. Hopefully Joachim Loew stays on as manager so we can get the pleasure of watching this team at Euro 2012.

- Great quote from Joachim Loew after the match (hat -tip to @andybrassell) "Nobody passes the ball like Spain. The quality in our players is extraordinary and one day, with time, work & experience, maybe we can beat them".

- Get the feeling the Final is going to be a real chess match, and will probably play out in a similar fashion with Spain keeping the ball, patiently probing for openings, and the Dutch sitting back waiting for their chance.

 

Notes from Kristian

- Another clean sheet and another hero for Spain. They are deserved finalists.

- As expected, Germany played with two banks of four without the ball, content to counter-attack. Spain dominated play, but couldn’t find that one killer pass. Interesting that Spain – with poor crosses all game – got their goal from a delightful Xavi ball in and a brilliant Carles Puyol header from the corner, after they had elected to play the ball short on a couple of set pieces earlier.

- When they got the lead, Spain pressed Germany very effectively, forcing them into hoofing hopeful long balls.

- Can’t believe Pedro did not pass to Fernando Torres in that 2 on 1 late in the match. Wasn’t at all surprised to see him taken off after either. It was an incredibly selfish play. Not only would a pass likely have put Spain 2-0 up, it also could have broken Torres’ duck.

- Jerome Boateng basically played as a centreback in the left fullback position. Marcell Jansen provided much more in attack from that spot when he came on.

- Sami Khedira’s stock just keeps rising. Not sure if it’s Bastian Schweinsteiger that’s making him look so good or not though.

 

Three Stars

1. Xavi

2. Carles Puyol

3. Bastian Schweinsteiger

 

Links: Wire recap I Box score