Spain have beaten Germany 1-0 in their World Cup semifinal showdown at Durban Stadium. The goal came from defender Carles Puyol, who scored a scorching header off a Xavi corner in the second half.
Spain dominated possession in the first half
Spain have booked a place in the World Cup final after defeating Germany 1-0 in their semifinal clash in Durban.
The goal came in the 73rd minute from a well-placed corner from playmaker Xavi, who landed the ball on a charging Carles Puyol, whose header screamed past German keeper Manuel Neuer.
Spain now go on to play the Netherlands in the World Cup final in Johannesburg on Sunday, while Germany go into the third-place playoff against Uruguay on Saturday.
The second half of the match opened with possession more evenly distributed between the two teams after Spain dominated the first half, though it was Spain who once again began asking questions of the German defense.
Spain created a scoring chance in the 58th minute when some quick passing in the German box saw the ball flicked to midfielder Andres Iniesta, who blazed a cross across goal but for a sliding David Villa to miss it by inches.
Germany suddenly came into the game 10 minutes later when substitute Toni Kroos was delivered a floating cross from the left from Lukas Podolski. The young Bayer Leverkusen attacker got his shot on target but hit it at keeper Iker Casillas, who palmed it away from goal.
Oezil had a penalty appeal turned down in first-half injury time
Spain had opened match in fine form. After six minutes of play Villa got hearts racing when he was put through on goal by a smart ball from Pedro which caught Arne Friedrich napping at the back. Villa got off a sliding shot, but a charging Neuer made a good blocking save with his left shin.
Germany started to come into the match as the half wore on, but were still unable to get any decent chances on goal.
Germany's Mesut Oezil had an appeal for a penalty turned down in first-half injury time when he was brought down in the box by defender Sergio Ramos, but Hungarian referee Viktor Kassai called play on.
Ins and outs
Germany came into the match in red-hot form, having put four goals past both Argentina and England in its previous two matches.
Loew has moulded his young squad into a winning team
The team was without Bayern Munich youngster Thomas Mueller, who picked up a yellow card against Argentina, ruling him out of the semifinal clash. Hamburg midfielder Piotr Trochowski was selected by coach Joachim Loew as Mueller's replacement.
Spain, meanwhile, scraped through with 1-0 wins over Portugal and Paraguay, and were yet to find their best form. Coach Vicente del Bosque dropped misfiring Liverpool striker Fernando Torres for the game, instead opting for Pedro Rodriguez to play as a right-sided midfielder.
The match offered a chance for Germany to avenge their loss to the Spanish in the final of the 2008 European championships, which saw Spain claim their first tournament trophy in over four decades.
This will be the first time Spain has played in a World Cup final, with their previous best showing a fourth-place finish in 1950.
Author: Darren Mara
Editor: Michael Lawton